"I don't care how they react", Woods said when asked how he expected today's young breed to deal with what he hopes is his re-emergence as a serious challenger.
He said: "It'd be a great sign if I do play and I think it'd be a smart sign if I don't play".
Laird twice eagled the easy par-5 opener that week and says of Riviera: "I just love this golf course". "So the old yardage books are out the window".
Despite so many new young stars making the headlines, it seems like we've gone back in time on the PGA Tour in recent weeks with Phil Mickelson showing up big in the early-season events.
Our ESPN and FantasyGolfInsider experts have laid out the players whom they believe have the skills to succeed and provide big fantasy point totals. "So I have to do a little more homework (Wednesday) during the Pro-Am". Sign up for a Golficity Premium Membership to get full access to our weekly fantasy golf predictions segment and so much more.
So what should we expect from Tiger this week? "I needed a little more loft, so I added a degree of loft on it".
During his Tuesday press conference, Woods was peppered with questions about his back and what he wants to accomplish as he gets back in the swing of competing in tournaments.
"But he's obviously gotten much better, worked on his game and won tournaments while I've been out". "Even with not having my best stuff, I felt like I still should have been a lot closer".
But he's using the event as a litmus test to determine whether he'll play next week's Honda Classic which, along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, is slated to be his pre-Masters schedule.
Tommy Fleetwood - It's been awhile since we've seen Tommy Fleetwood on the PGA Tour, but his last appearance was a third place finish in the Hero World Challenge.
Woods made his eagerly anticipated return to the sport last month at the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing in a promising T23 - his first top-25 standing since 2015.
Watson has not finished better than 35th in an official PGA Tour event this season.
He went on to pile up 79 USA tour titles and 14 major championships, but in 10 appearances at Riviera his best finish was second place in 1998, which he followed with a tie for second in 1999. He won here back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
Justin Thomas: He is coming off an fantastic 2017 season. Has only played here once in 2016, ending T20. That makes this week at Riviera compelling to see if he fixed his driving woes from Torrey Pines while maintaining his sharp short game and putting.
After back-to-back runner-up finishes in 1998 and 1999, Woods posted only two other top-10s.
Alex Noren: Followed up his play-off defeat to Jason Day with a T21 last week. It first was played at Riviera in 1929.
Thomas Pieters: An outside chance this week. In last year's tournament, Thomas placed 39.
Tiger Woods: T23 and T9 in his last two starts, although admittedly is just looking to get tournament reps under his belt.
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