Woods signals days of being warm and cuddly Tiger are over

Tiger Woods stays humble as comeback continues

Tiger Woods stays humble as comeback continues

In his much anticipated return to action following his encouraging T23 performance at the Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger Woods will tee up Riviera for the first time since 2006. As for this course, Johnson is the defending champion with a -17 to par previous year, and he's finished no worse than fourth in each of his last four appearances at the Riviera Country Club.

SportsLine's prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, was all over Jon Rahm's victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge this season and had two players in its projected top five finish tied for second at last week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am. But as a PGA Tour professional, Woods has conspicuously avoided Riviera.

Last year Laird was ninth for Putting Average at Riviera and fourth for Driving Accuracy so his game is a strong fit when everything is working and that was the case (fifth on the All-Around stats) for his top 10 in Phoenix two weeks ago.

Tiger Woods plays his second event of 2018 after an encouraging showing at Torrey Pines.

Rory McIlroy: He will be looking to bounce back from last week in Monterey.

Chez Reavie: Arguably the form-horse in golf right now, Reavie heads to Riviera off the back of two back-to-back runner up finishes. A year ago on the Euro Tour he ranked first in GIR, 51st in scrambling, 7th in driving accuracy and 44th in distance. He also was cut last week. As we suggested earlier, Riviera CC demands a combination of accuracy and power off the tee, and Fleetwood should have a plethora of birdie looks this week. This is the first time he's played in the PGA Tour event here in 12 years, never having won in the 10 times he did play.

Thomas Pieters: An outside chance this week.

Riviera became known as "Hogan's Alley" as the Texan won here three times in the late 1940s. He said, "That was the year before I was born".

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Thomas is fourth in the world rankings after winning five events a year ago.

Dustin Johnson fired a superb 64 in round three to move five clear of the pack. But now it's more of a playing competitor now. There should be sunshine throughout. But who are the sleepers to watch at the Genesis Open?

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"I'm making small, subtle changes in my posture and my swing because I'm starting to understand my body a little bit more, because this back is just different than it used to be".

This is the new world for Woods even as he tries to bring back his old brand of golf. In addition to strong course history, Johnson is now toting great form as he's finished first or second in all three of his early-season starts. He was a runner-up here as recently as 2015 and tied for eighth last week.

Astute gamers will point out that the last three multiple winners at Riviera have all been left handed and Masters champions (Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson).

The rough at Torrey Pines was U.S. Open length. He could step up a level with a win this week. Winner's share: $1,296,000. Television: Thursday, 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Friday, 4-8 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 4-7 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS). It's a blind tee shot from below the level of the fairway then a testing approach into a kidney shaped green that sits surrounded by a natural amphitheatre.

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