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Tiger Woods hopes Greenbrier start marks return to first-place, first-timer ways of past

By Steve Elling | Senior Golf Columnist

When Tiger Woods won events at two of his longtime favorite PGA Tour venues earlier this season, at Bay Hill and Muirfield Village, more than a few observations were made about how the vast number of his wins have come at the same smattering of locales over the years.

As we well know, this cat is surely a creature of habit.

Indeed, Woods has won more times at Torrey Pines, Bay Hill and Memorial than nearly any other active player has tallied career victories anywhere.

But here's an interesting bit of insight into what Woods is trying to accomplish this week at the Greenbrier Resort in remote West Virginia, where he is playing for the first time.

The last time Woods won at a PGA Tour venue he was playing for the first time, major championship or otherwise, was at the now-defunct American Express event at The Grove outside London in the fall of 2006 -- six long years ago.

Granted, an asterisk applies. He doesn't often deviate from his traditional lineup of tournaments, except when forced to play majors such as the British Open, where the sites annually rotate among a dozen or so courses. To wit, Woods won in his first try at Hoylake in mid-2006, too.

So in trying to win this week at Greenbrier, he's not only trying to post consecutive top-10 finish in PGA Tour play for the first time since before the scandal, he's trying to reaffirm he can still win at venues where he has no previous experience.

Sounds like a doubly tall order. Woods notoriously putts on familiar greens by memory, and on his opening nine at Greenbrier, he missed two putts from inside five feet.

If one name seems to crop up on this list repeatedly, it's for good reason. Woods once had a corporate endorsement deal with American Express, and he played in the event annually, no matter where it was staged.

Here's a comprehensive list of the venues where Woods has won sanctioned U.S. tournaments while making his first appearance as a PGA Tour player:

Source: PGA Tour

Tiger Woods history
1996Las Vegas Invitational(three courses)
1996Disney Classic(three courses)
1997Merecedes ChampionshipLa Costa Resort
1997The MastersAugusta National
1997Byron Nelson(two courses)
1997Western OpenCog Hill
1998BellSouth ClassicTPC Sugarloaf
1999PGA ChampionshipMedinah
1999WGC AmEx ChampionshipValderrama, Spain
2000British OpenSt. Andrews
2000PGA ChampionshipValhalla
2002U.S. OpenBethpage Black
2002WGC AmEx ChampionshipMt. Juliet, Ireland
2003WGC AmEx ChampionshipCapital City Club Crabapple
2005WGC AmEx ChampionshipHarding Park
2006British OpenRoyal Liverpool
2006WGC AmEx ChampionshipThe Grove, England
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