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Tiger Woods Ready To Roll at Riviera in 2017

By: Golfshake Editor | Sun 18 Dec 2016

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

HERE is some great news for all genuine golf fans! It turns out that Tiger Woods' performance at the Hero World Challenge was not a one-off after all, and he is now in the process of working out his schedule for 2017.

Woods made more birdies at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas than anybody else in the field - 25 of them in 72 holes which, by anybody's standards, is impressive stuff. Unfortunately, he also had more double-bogeys than anybody else and finished well down the field. But we forgive him that because the old boy was bound to feel a little rusty.

The big unknown for us all was whether or not his body would have stood up to 72 holes of strokeplay and the good news is that it did. There were no winces during the tournament when he hit recovery shots from some pretty horrific places, and the best news of all is that there were no affect-effects.

Woods will be 41 when he steps onto the first tee at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 16. By then he will have done plenty more work on his game and, hopefully, will have worked out a way to eliminate the schoolboy errors that marked his performance.

You can be certain that there will already be a rush for tickets for Riviera, with the sponsors and American TV networks rubbing their hands together in glee as The Comeback begins in earnest. Although it has not yet been confirmed, Woods is also likely to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, from January 26-29  at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times.  

For now, he will only talk about Riviera. “I'm very excited to come back to Riviera and compete in the Genesis Open," Woods said. "This is where it all started for me. It was my first PGA TOUR event. I was 16 years old, I weighed about 105 pounds. It was a life-changing moment for me.”

The PGA Tour would love to see him take part in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in front of the largest (literally and metaphorically) and noisiest galleries in the game, but there is a strong feeling that he might well be playing in the Dubai Desert Classic on that same week at the beginning of February. He is also surely a near-certain starter at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from February 9-12, which is probably his favourite venue.

Woods, of course, still gauges his career in terms of majors - he has won 14 of them, after all, but none at all since 2008. So what are his chances for 2017?

No current player understands the nuances of Augusta National better than Woods, and it would be no surprise to see him in contention at The Masters. He simply loves the place, the galleries and the tournament and, given the chance of winning just one more major, this is probably the one he would pick. It is where it all began for him back in 1997 when he rewrote the record books - and the way the game is played.

The Open is being played at Birkdale. It is easy to forget that he finished third in 1998 Championship behind Mark O'Meara. The abiding memory from that tournament is of a 17-year-old Justin Rose holing his approach at the 72nd hole. For Woods, The Open is all about the weather. If the wind blows, he is more likely to miss the cut than contend, but he remains a wonderful shotmaker, so don't rule him out.

The US Open is being staged at Erin Hills, laughingly described as a "public" golf course in Wisconsin. It will be set up with thick rough, lightning-fast greens and horrible, chewy grass around the greens and would not have suited Woods at his best, far less at this stage in his life.

The US PGA Championship is at Quail Hollow, where Woods won the Wachovia Championship in 2007. The weather will be hot and humid, conditions that should suit Woods, but this will not be the course that stages the Wachovia - like Erin Hills, there will be plenty of thick rough, and Woods is unlikely to mount much of a challenge. Besides, Rory McIlroy loves the place and will start that week as a red-hot favourite.

We shouldn't expect too much of Woods in 2017 but somehow we just can't help ourselves, can we?


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Tags: tiger woods PGA Tour

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