Woods gets elevated status at Riviera, now wants victory
Woods gets elevated status at Riviera, now wants victory
McIlroy has finished tied-fourth and tied-fifth in his last two starts
14 February, 2019, 19:42
He is in the same group as Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, just like previous year, when Woods missed the cut for the only time in 2018 at a regular PGA Tour event. "I love playing this golf course".
"(I'm) honoured to be included in this category; to do it where I grew up and where my entire career got started, I couldn't ask for a more (symbolic) outcome", Woods said. I always have. I enjoyed playing up here when I was young with my dad. "I'm obviously looking forward to the next couple of days".
The European Tour's first tournament in Saudi Arabia attracted four of the world's top-five ranked players, led by world number one Justin Rose of England.
Woods then revealed he had turned down an invitation to join a star-studded field for the inaugural Saudi International, where Dustin Johnson emerged victorious two weeks ago, although he insisted that it was a logistical decision rather than humanitarian.
Tiger Woods reacts to chipping in for birdie on the 17th hole during The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course.
Woods is an eight-time victor at Bay Hill and four-time Memorial champion.
From next year, it is expected the victor will ceremonially shake Woods's hand, a tradition at Nicklaus's Memorial and at Bay Hill before Palmer's death in 2016.
Palmer's tournament received the same status in 2017.
Woods missed the cut here past year in just his second full-field PGA Tour start after undergoing spinal fusion surgery, but he has high hopes of contending for his 81st career title on a course that remains one of his favourites despite his lack of success. But the event has seen its share of great champions.
The victor will receive a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour, matching the Palmer and Nicklaus events in offering one extra year than regular victories. "This golf course exposes the best players in the world, so I think it definitely deserves it, and it's worth everyone's while to have the person who wins it have a three-year exemption". "He's a great kid and we've got close over the years".
On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan revealed the Woods-hosted tournament in Los Angeles would be given the same treatment as Palmer's Memorial Tournament in OH and Palmer's event at Bay Hill, Florida.
"This announcement comes at a particularly relevant time as Tiger continues to chase history and Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories". Nicklaus had 73. Palmer had 62.
"I'm aiming for big things this year with the majors, and to win a major you have to beat the big names there too", Leishman said.
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