Jason Day, during his rise to No. 1 in the world, could barely make it through a press conference without mentioning a phone call or a text message with Woods to seek out advice. I'm just a person that they could bounce ideas off, or what did I used to do, and how do I feel these things, what do I do in certain situations, certain shots, and they would pick my brain, yeah. Seemingly gone in his latest comeback from four back surgeries and a DUI arrest are the bravado, the "me against the world" persona, the intimidation factor and the isolation on and off the course from the rest of the competition that were so much a part of his world when he dominated the game and won 14 major titles.
Casey, who hasn't finished worse than T39 in his last five starts in this event, was fourth for Greens In Regulation at Pebble Beach last week and is 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green this season so has the ideal stats to shine again at Riviera. If not the jackpot, we can still get a healthy each-way return from a punt at 28s. While the favorite, I'll still take Johnson and +500 odds.
Paul Casey: Casey still hasn't missed since the 2017 Sony Open, and has two top-10 finishes in his last two starts. It's nit-picking a little and you could argue 5/1 is a bet to nothing.
The Ulsterman, now ranked 10th in the world, is in undoubtedly one of the marquee groups for the event which starts tomorrow at Riviera Country Club.
Rory McIlroy was a poor pick on my behalf last week as Pebble is a very hard event if you're new to it.
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It has been three weeks since Woods made his official return to the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he made the cut on the number and then enjoyed a solid weekend to finish in a tie for 23rd.
He has liked the course since his rookie season.
"I think the work we've done has been fantastic", he added.
It's another California event with Poa Annua greens but course form of MC-66-45 isn't too sharp. "I've never played against Tiger when he's been the unbeatable Tiger".
The Scot is teeing it up at Riviera for the ninth year running and his performances are getting better and better.
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That was a full year before Thomas was even born.
At the Presidents Cup, he said he didn't know if he would play again. Hence it's one of the first tournaments pencilled in on his schedule. Leishman is making his ninth straight start at Riviera, where he has missed the cut two of the last three years but also added a T-5 finish in 2016 among a trio of top-20 results. Future of Fantasy's table of putting performances on such surfaces since 2013/14 shows Laird in 17th place while he's eighth on the Specialists list which compares displays on Poa v other grasses.
Relatively short and tight by modern standards, Riviera did not suit a long-hitting young Woods but he might find it more to his liking now as a 42-year-old with a fused spine, still able to hit the ball a long way, but no further than many of his peers.
He could be interesting at 125s.
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