PACIFIC PALISADES, California – Tiger Woods still has a bill to pay.
No, not with Sam Snead, with whom he scored the most victories in the history of the PGA Tour at 82.
Not with Jack Nicklaus, whose record of 18 major championships he is three behind.
Not with Phil Mickelson, whose popularity has overtaken the golf world, although his world rankings have dropped in recent years as Woods has risen.
No. Woods has to come to terms with the Riviera Country Club, which has become more of a nemesis in his career than any of the top players in the world who have run their respective races under his rule over the years.
Riviera is the place where Woods played at his first PGA tour event in 1992 at the age of 16, and the place where his father, Earl, made him see the old LA Open when he was a kid who "The 405" grew up only 40 miles below where they lived in Cypress, California.
There's no better place for Woods to clinch his 83rd PGA Tour win and break the all-time record than this week's Genesis Invitational on the Riviera, as the Riviera is one of the few puzzles that Woods doesn't solve was able to solve in his brilliant career.
Sure, a win three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won eight times as a professional, would have been an excellent place for the 83rd given his ridiculously successful history.
Winning # 83 to outperform Snead at the Masters next month would probably be the sexiest opportunity given that it is Woods sixth green jacket that would tie Nicklaus most of the time.
But Riviera would be the most perfect symbolic place where No. 83 would take place. In addition, the tournament hosted by the Woods Foundation has become almost too good to be true.
Woods is 0 to 13 in this tournament, 12 of which were played on the Riviera. However, the first two attempts came when Woods was an amateur – 1992 and 1993. This is the tournament that Woods has played most often in his career without a win.
Next on the list is the Northern Trust – which has played at Ridgewood Country Club, Plainfield Country Club, Liberty National, Bethpage Black and Glen Oaks in recent years since moving from the Westchester Country Club. Woods is 0 for 10 at the Northern Trust. The next one on this list of faults for him is the Honda Classic, where he is 0 for 5.
Woods, who has four top 10 finishes and two secondary finishes on the Riviera (one of which was driven at the Valencia Country Club), finished 15th last year. His lack of success on something like a home course is by no means lost to him.
"I've participated in a number of events over the years [at Riviera]and so that I won’t win an event that meant so much to me in my home town – I did well in Torrey Pines, I did well in Sherwood – I just didn’t do well here, ”Woods said Tuesday. "Hopefully I can put it together this week and we'll have a great conversation on Sunday."
Woods' lack of success on the Riviera is strange in that it is an old school golf course for ball strikers, and there have been few. If anything, players in the game's history are better ball strikers than Woods, especially with his iron game, which is crucial with some small greens in Riv.
"I've never really putted here in the past," said Woods. "I played so many rounds here. It fits a natural cutter of the golf ball, so I thought I've done it pretty much throughout my career. But when it comes down to it, you have to hit the ball well because of the greens are so small and so sloppy. But for some reason everything breaks in the direction [hole No.] 6, and I still haven't quite figured it out.
"On [Monday] when I was out there with Bubba [Watson], he gave me pretty good grief. He won something here three times? And I don't have that. "