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Woods tries to keep one streak, end other
Updated: 2006-02-16 08:57

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods has a couple of streaks going in opposite directions. The one getting most of the attention is his 2-0 start to 2006, playoff victories in the Buick Invitational and the Dubai Desert Classic that take expectations even higher. The last time he started off a year with two victories was in 2000, which has become his benchmark for dominance.

Making it three in a row means getting rid of another streak that is getting under his skin. Woods is 0-10 at the Nissan Open, a record that dates to his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old amateur when he missed the cut. His record has improved only slightly since he turned professional, although the Nissan Open remains the only PGA Tour event he has played more than three times as a pro without winning.

"I just haven't played my best golf at the right time," Woods said Wednesday. "I've played some good golf, but not my best stuff. And this track, you've got to hit the ball well. You just can't get away with hitting it poorly around here and expect to win."

Not that he hasn't come close.

Woods is part of an All-Star collection of players in the hunt in 1999, the year Ernie Els pulled away from Woods, Davis Love III, David Duval and Nick Price to win by two shots. Woods needed a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, but piped a 3-iron into a beer tent and made bogey.

The Nissan Open also is the site of his only playoff loss in an official tournament, to Billy Mayfair in 1998 when the tournament moved to Valencia Country Club while Riviera's greens were being rebuilt.

Even when Woods was at his best — 2000 comes to mind — Riviera knocked him down. He had a stretch from the end of 1999 to the spring of 2000 in which he finished first or second in 10 out of 11 events. The exception, of course, was the Nissan Open, where he tied for 18th.

His next chance starts Thursday, and if his winless streak at his hometown tournament is weighing heavily, Woods isn't saying.

"You don't ever try to force a win," he said. "You just take it as a process. It's 72 holes. You take it a shot at a time, and hopefully at the end of the week, you're on top."
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