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Going Back to Cali

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Tiger Woods is home. Not in Orlando, Fla., that's just where he lives. No, Woods is back in Southern California, Los Angles to be exact.
 
Tiger headlines the field in this week's Nissan Open at the Riviera Country Club, just down the road from his birthplace in Cypress.
 
Woods had speculated that he might skip this event, though he did so in haste following a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Buick Invitational two weeks ago. It marked Tiger's seventh straight PGA Tour start without a victory, dating back to last year.
 
Riviera might not be the cure-all for Woods. He's played this event six times without a win - the most he's played any PGA Tour event without winning.
 
'Just give me ten more years,' joked Woods about a Nissan jinx. 'I've come close. Granted, I've only played a few years here.'
 
Woods made his first PGA Tour start as a 16-year-old amateur at this event in 1992. He missed the cut. He did the same the following year, again as an amateur.
 
However, as he said, Tiger does have a good track record in L.A. He lost to Billy Mayfair in a playoff in 1998 at Valencia Country Club, and finished runner-up to Ernie Els in '99 at Riviera.
 
Last year, Woods tied for 18th.

While surrounded by media and fans on Wednesday, Woods was once again addressed about his winless drought. And once again, Woods provided his stock answer.
 
'I haven't won in four starts this year, in my opinion that's not a slump. If I went four years without a win, that would be a slump,' Woods said.
 
Though he hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the 2000 Bell Canadian Open, Woods has three top-10 finishes in four starts this season.
 
His 0-fer in the win department can be directly attributed to his putting. Last year, he finished second on the Tour in putting. This year, he stands mired in 126th place.
 
'My game's not that far off,' Woods has stated on numerous occasions. 'It's just a matter of getting the putts to fall.'
 
If there's one thing in Tiger's favor, it's that nine of the last 12 Nissan Opens have been won by past or future major champions. Tiger, of course, has five such titles to his credit. Riviera is also a major championship caliber course, having hosted a pair of U.S. Opens, one U.S. Senior Open and a PGA Championship.
 
This is the final event on the 2001 West Coast Swing, which awards an unofficial $500,000 bonus to the top point-earner. Points are awarded from first to eighth place in each tournament from the season-opening Mercedes Championships to this week's Nissan. Currently, Davis Love III, Brad Faxon and Els are tied at for first place.
 
The 75th Nissan Open has a $3.4 million purse, with $612,000 going to the winner. Last year, Kirk Triplett defeated Jesper Parnevik by a shot. It was Triplett's first PGA Tour title in 266 career starts.
 
Now, that's a slump.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*Five players have won back-to-back Nissan Opens. Corey Pavin was the last to do it in 1994-95.
 
*Fred Couples has made 11 consecutive cuts in the Nissan Open. Last year, he tied for fifth.
 
*There have been 12 playoffs in tournament history. The last occurred in 1998 when Billy Mayfair defeated Tiger Woods with a birdie on the first extra hole.

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