Tiger Woods Opens with 69 at Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods teed it up for the first time since The Open Championship last summer and in his first non-major PGA TOUR event since the 2020 ZOZO Championship and what followed was a great day for golf fans. The famed Riviera Country Club was the setting and Woods was paired with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas for the opening round of the Genesis Invitational that began with the 15-time major champion capturing a birdie on the first hole.

Woods’ up-and-down round finished on a high as he had three consecutive birdies to post a 2-under 69 in a tie for 27th, five shots shy of leaders Max Homa and Keith Mitchell.

And as expected the marquee group of Woods, McIlroy and Thomas had a gallery of thousands following them around Riviera’s grounds.

“It was a lot louder than I had — I haven’t played in a tournament in a long time so I haven’t played any tournaments. I was trying to calm my — I didn’t really look up as much,” Woods said. “I probably should have, but I didn’t. I was trying to calm myself down all day, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing out here because I haven’t played. I had to try and figure out what the chess match is going to be.

“Misses, angles, wind, these are all things that have come second nature to a lot of these guys. I haven’t really done this in a while,” Woods continued. “So yeah, I was so focused on what I was trying to do, talking to Joey, trying to figure it all out. No, I probably should have appreciated the fans more than I did, but there was so much going on in my head trying to get the ball in the correct spots and the correct feels just because I haven’t done this in a while.”

Woods also credited playing alongside his close friends with his solid first round back.

“Ebbs and flows. It was nice that I had this unbelievable pairing, two great guys, two great friends,” Woods said. ” It was a great round. The ebb and flow of needling each other, encouraging each other and telling stories. Because I hadn’t been out here so I’ve missed some of the things that have transpired on Tour, which is kind of fun.”

McIlroy finished 4-under in a tie for 7th while Thomas is 3-under in a tie for 14th.

In his post round presser, McIlroy was asked about Woods out-driving him and Thomas.

“I know, I’m going to go work on the range,” McIlroy said. “I put my driver up a click in loft at the start of the week, I might have to turn it back down again. I don’t like him hitting it by me.”


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