What Tiger Woods Said Wednesday Ahead of the Genesis Open
Bill Speros, author for Golfweek
Tiger Woods will begin his second PGA Tour event of 2019 Thursday afternoon at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles when he tees off in the Genesis Open.
Woods is paired with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. They go out at 3:22 p.m. Thursday Eastern time from the first tee.
Woods Wednesday confirmed he would be playing in the WGC-Championships in Mexico City next week. It is the first time he’s ever played there. He has not played in the year’s first WGC Championship since 2014.
Here are some other highlights of what Woods had to say in his pre-Genesis Open tournament press conference.
On the significance of Charlie Sifford’s victory in the L.A. Open 50 years ago
“It meant a lot to all of us who are participating in the game who are nonwhite to have Charlie have had the success he had, to have him go through the struggles that he went through to win here. It’s such a historic site, and against some of the best players that ever lived, was something that was very special. If it wasn’t for Charlie and others who paved the way, I don’t think my dad would have ever played the game of golf and hence, I probably wouldn’t be here doing this press conference and be involved in the game like I am. I owe a lot to Charlie. I always called him my grandpa that I never had.”
On playing at classic courses like Riviera
“We wish we could play more venues that are classic and simple like this. There’s nothing really — there’s no secret to this golf course. It’s right in front of you, but it’s hard. The greens are, except No. 4, everything slopes from back to front and we all know that, don’t go past the hole, but if you do, there’s a price to pay. Over the years they’ve linked this golf course quite a bit. We were joking today coming down 12, I remember hitting a 1-iron and a wedge down there. Today was driver, cut 6-iron. It has gotten a little bit different, but we wish we could play more venues like this that are so simple and straightforward, but that’s what makes it just a classic golf course. That’s why there have been so many great champions here. You have to hit the golf ball well. I’m sure this week will be no different.”
On his confidence factor going in this week vs. last year
“Last year at this time I just had completed in basically one Tour event. I had played in the Hero World Challenge and was just trying to figure out whether or not I could make it to Florida. So I’m in a very different position now having played an entire season and I know what my body can and cannot do. So I’m looking forward to this week.”
On the longevity of Phil Mickelson
“He’s just been so consistent, and that’s the hardest thing to do is each and every one of us have enough talent to have little hot runs out here but to sustain it for over two decades like he has. And for him to — trust me, I recognize this, it’s not easy to pick up clubhead speed, which he has done, as he’s gotten older. That’s been extraordinary. That’s what’s allowed him to stay out here with some of these longer guys, he’s been able to hit the ball further. That’s something that he’s done. He’s adjusted his putting. He’s made more putts than I think I’ve seen in years in the last year and a half. One of the reasons why he’s won two big events.”
On any adjustments since Torrey Pines
“I put a new 3-wood in since I last played. But other than that, just been working on trying to get that club out in front of me, get that ball higher. I’ve always been pretty good at taking spin off, but I’m trying to get the ball up for this week and trying to hit the ball high. I knew that that was going to be one of the things I needed to do. And also getting ready if I was going to play Mexico, it was going to be two weeks of trying to get that ball up because obviously it’s at altitude next week and the ball doesn’t spin a lot. So to be able to send that ball up in the air and have it pretty soft when it lands I thought was important.”