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The Genesis Invitational was missing one of its biggest stars last weekend.
Tiger Woods was there, but only in his role as tournament host, having stepped back from tournament play after having a fifth back surgery.
Riviera Country Club, host of the event, is the site of one of the early milestones in Woods’ playing career. In 1992 at age 16, he played in his first PGA Tour event as an amateur there.
This year, he was back, arriving at the course on Saturday where he was seen walking around and mingling near the clubhouse.
Also on Saturday, Woods posed for a photo with Willie Mack III. Mack, who plays on the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour, was the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption, an invitation extended by Woods.
On Sunday, Woods, 45, was back at the course again and joined Jim Nantz on the CBS live broadcast for two different segments. It was his only media appearance of the weekend and he was asked about playing in the Masters in April.
“God I hope so. I’ve got to get there first,” Woods said with a chuckle. “A lot of it is based on my surgeons and doctors and therapist and making sure I do it correctly. This is the only back I’ve got, I don’t have much more wiggle room left.”
When fellow Los Angeles native Max Homa won the tournament in a playoff, he posed for photos with the trophy and Woods and then spoke of what it all means.
Max Homa stands with the trophy and tournament host Tiger Woods at the 2021 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
“Just for me, for my caddie Joe, we were raised 25 miles north of here,” Homa said, who also described going to Riviera countless times as a youth to watch the tournament. “I mean, Tiger Woods is handing us a trophy, that’s a pretty crazy thought. We grew up idolizing him, idolizing Riviera Country Club, idolizing the golf tournament. To get it done, it’s almost shocking.”
Woods, according to a Golf Digest story, stayed in California beyond the weekend for two days of shooting videos for Golf Digest/GOLFTV, whom Woods has a content partnership with. The videos entailed Woods working with celebrities on their golf games.
About 12 hours before the Tuesday morning crash, actor/comedian posted a photo on Twitter of him and Woods in a golf cart.
Other photos on social media showed Woods with former NBA star Dwyane Wade. The actress Jada Pinkett Smith was also involved in the video shoot, which Golf Digest reports took place at the Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday.
Digest also reported that Woods’ “movement still restricted, he did not hit balls or play any holes. The shoot involved Woods giving on-course lessons to a number of celebrities, but he mostly provided instruction and hit a few putts.”
On Tuesday morning, Woods was driving a Genesis courtesy vehicle when the accident occurred. Within hours, golfers at this week’s PGA Tour stop in Florida were reacting to the crash, including Woods’ good friend Justin Thomas, as were athletes and celebrities from across the country.
Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Christopher Thomas classified the crash victim’s injuries to USA TODAY Sports as serious but non-life threatening. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, according to the Los Angeles Times, said that Woods is “lucky to be alive.”