Woods thrilled with pain-free PGA Tour return

There will be some vivid memories of a 16-year-old dreaming of taking on the world – and winning – when Tiger Woods returns to Riviera CC in Los Angeles next week for the Genesis Open.

Yet there will be even greater feelings of satisfaction for Woods.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods

Just being back, competing, has the former world No 1 on cloud nine and champing at the bit for his next challenge…pain-free.

Woods is actually excited about returning to a course where he is yet to win – even though he has come very close during his star-studded career.

“It felt so good to be back with the guys and competing again,” Woods wrote on his own website.

“Words can’t describe how much I missed it. And, most importantly, I was pain-free.”

The memories at the Pacific Palisades course are still vivid too.

He had attended the event as a youngster but Woods was back there again when he was just 16 for his first PGA Tour start, in 1992.

He recalls shooting 72-75 to miss the cut after being granted a sponsor’s exemption.

Yet Woods relays another story about how he had come so close to qualifying for the event the previous year.

“[It was] the second time I tried to qualify to play Riviera,” wrote Woods.

“I was 15 and we played the South Course at Los Serranos Country Club. It was a moment I will never forget.”

“I was playing the best round of my life and I was eight-under par through 17 holes, thinking I was actually going to qualify for a PGA Tour event.”

“The head pro then came up to me and said, “I have to tell you, because I know it’s going to change how you play this last hole,” which was a par-five with a second shot over water.

“There are already two guys at 10-under and only two make it.”

I said, “What?”

It meant I had to eagle the last hole to get into a playoff and I hit my second shot in the water, made bogey and shot 65.

In nine starts as a pro at Riviera, Woods has zero wins.

He last played in the event in 2006.

“I’ve had several chances to win at Riviera, but just haven’t gotten it done,” says Woods.