Expert picks for the Genesis Open

14-time major champion Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods finds a lot of things to love about Riviera Country Club, but his record here isn't one of them.

The 14-time major victor makes his second PGA Tour appearance since a spinal fusion operation in a star-studded field at Riviera Country Club - the venue where he made his tour debut as an amateur in 1992. "It's very simple. It's just one of those weird things".

"Absolutely" the world's No. 1 golfer would like to go head-to-head with Woods with everything on the line on Sunday at the Genesis Open, Johnson told SB Nation during a Monday phone interview.

McIlroy and Thomas are the last two winners of the FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour's Order of Merit, while 14-time Major victor Woods of course needs little introduction.

Woods will make his first appearance at Riviera since 2006. The course is often referred to as "Hogan's Alley" after Ben Hogan, who won the 1948 U.S. Open and three Los Angeles Opens there. Last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, heavy favourite Dustin Johnson was the easy winning call as he is a "horse for the course" at Pebble.

His scheduled return in 2017 was foiled by yet more back trouble.

"I'm just starting back", he said at his pre-tournament press conference.

Woods played his first official tournament in 12 months, having undergone a fourth back surgery since 2014 last April, as he finished 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open last month.

"Some of the holes have really changed", Woods said.

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"I'd eventually like to win tournaments", the 42, year-old told pgatour.com. "And I can't wait to get started".

Perhaps it will take winning, though Woods clearly has tempered his expectations this early in his comeback.

"I've been away from the game a pretty long time", he said. If there's anybody I'd want on a soaked, long, hard course, Johnson would be on the top of that list.

Our ESPN and FantasyGolfInsider experts have laid out the players whom they believe have the skills to succeed and provide big fantasy point totals.

Whether Woods plays next week will depend on how sore he feels after his exertions in southern California, but he believes he is in a no-lose situation. He said, "That was the year before I was born". "This is still all new to me and I just want to be real smart about it". But to shoot 3-under par for the tournament based on his errant driving was a testament to how good Woods' short game was that week.

That included "cleaning up" his swing, and making a few adjustments to his driver after he found just 17 of 56 greens at Torrey Pines.

He won't commit to playing in next week's Honda Classic in Florida until he sees how his body responds to his second tournament of the year.

"I don't care how they react", Woods said, when asked about the possibility of dissing a close friend.

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