New-look Tiger Woods set to face Riviera

Henry Tran
Woods hopes to improve on his previous results in The Genesis Invitational.

LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods has played on a professional stage at Riviera Country Club since he was 16 years old, starting as a sponsor exemption as an amateur. A few years later, he signed a deal with Nike. Since then, every year he came to Riviera, he sported Nike’s swoosh and TW logo (starting in 2000). 

But Riviera has not been kind to Woods, unlike many other courses where he claimed his 82 PGA Tour wins. This year, the 48-year-old is sporting a new look without Nike. And he is looking to be in the spotlight on Sunday to claim his first victory at Riviera.

“This is a golf course that has been to me been very comfortable visually,” Woods said. “It’s a fader’s delight from the tee shots, and been a pretty good iron player, but for some reason, I just haven’t put it together at this event other than one time with a chance. For some reason, it just hasn’t happened. Hopefully, it will be this week.”

Woods is wearing his Sun Day Red around Riviera this year, a look he unveiled on Tuesday. 

Henry Tran

The tournament tees off on Thursday, and Woods is paired with Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland. Maybe the new look could coincide with better results at Riviera for Woods. 

But, there is also the issue of Tiger’s health. Leg injuries have kept him off the course for many tournaments since 2021. He last played in an official TOUR event during the 2023 Genesis Invitational. 

“Do I feel it physically? Absolutely, each and every day,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, that’s part of having surgeries and rehab. But I’m excited about this week, and I’m excited about competing and playing.”

Woods has been working on ensuring his shots are “flush” ahead of the tournament. He is unable to generate as much swing speed as he had in the past but wants to hit consistently with the pace he has. 

“I built this golf swing the last few years, four, five years, based on my hands and what that feels like. What that looks like, I don’t — sometimes it doesn’t look pretty, but I can still hit the ball flush.”

It is a steep hill to climb for Woods, much like the one leading to the clubhouse at Riviera. But he will give it his best shot. While doing so, he will be wearing his new merchandise.