Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods are grouped for at least the first two rounds of the PGA Tour's Genesis Open 2018 this week at Riviera C.C.in California. He had vague recollections of Woods making his PGA Tour debut at Riviera as an amateur and asked for details.
The 42-year-old is also wary about pushing the limit and risking a recurrence of his injury and has revealed that he will trim his schedule owing to his lack of competitive action in the last 18 months.
"It'd be a great sign if I do play", Woods told reporters at Riviera, "And I think it'd be a smart sign if I don't play".
This is the new world for Woods even as he tries to bring back his old brand of golf. His play has improved.
Is he more of a mentor?
This is a value that could go overlooked - he should garner less ownership than past victor Hahn (more on him below), at any rate - even though Smith has been lights out in 2018. As a pro, Riviera is the course he has played the most times (8) without winning.
"I'm trying to win a tournament".
"Tiger hasn't played in such a long time so he'll obviously get a lot of attention", said Johnson.
He was here, and he was gone, and then back again, but never for very long.
Woods, meanwhile, is eyeing an unprecedented dual role at this year's Ryder Cup event in September.
Jason Day, during his rise to No. 1 in the world, could barely make it through a press conference without mentioning a phone call or a text message with Woods to seek out advice.
Woods cautions that this is only his third event since he's returned from back surgery.
And as at Torrey, he was careful to temper expectations. This will be just his 16th PGA TOUR start since the end of the 2010 season. "For a while there, that wasn't the case".
Unlike last week at Pebble Beach, driver is needed or can give an advantage on many holes this week at Riviera. "But they know I'm playing in a tournament, and so are they". Also, with length being a path to success at Riviera in the past, SG: Off the Tee will also be important in determining strong golfers for our lineups.
Woods has struggled with back issues that have taken him out of the spotlight for some time now. Three years later, they were on his private jet flying out to California. Beyond that, there are The Strip and The Boulevard, fun fan engagements between the first and second holes near the short game and practice areas that feature interactive displays from partners including United, Coca-Cola and Vessel, as well as cool giveaways. Pieters' game log also works in his favor, as FanDuel does not show his fifth-place finish in a deep field at the HSBC Championship in Dubai a few weeks ago. So he called him. Going for the green isn't necessarily easier, with only a small flat area to land and many shots funneling to a collection area left of the green. "I've always played well around here", said Casey after his near-miss. If I continue to strike it the way I have, it's going to be another good week.
"So I've got to do a little bit more homework (Wednesday) in the pro-am".
"It is different", he said.
But it usually only goes so far.
Bubba Watson - Bubba Watson hasn't had any noteworthy performances since the QBE Shootout, but he has made the cut in four of his last five events and is 11th in driving distance.
"They are starting to see me as a competitor because I wasn't for a while", he said. He said, "That was the year before I was born".