Tiger Woods finishes one over par after Round 1 of Genesis Invitational at Riviera

Tiger Woods is back on the golf course for his first PGA Tour tournament since the Masters.

 

Woods knocked off some rust and finished at 1-over par during the first round of the Genesis Invitational from Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, a place that Woods is very familiar with but has never won. In fact, it’s the course he’s played the most as a pro (12 tournaments) without having won.

 

Woods was never more than 1 over, and never more than 1-under par during Round 1, while registering seven pars, six bogeys and five birdies on his scorecard. He hit eight of 14 fairways and his longest drive went 332 yards.

 

“A lot of good and a lot of indifferent. It was one or the other. I don’t know how many pars I had, wasn’t many. I was either making birdies or bogeys and just never really got anything consistent going today,” Woods said. “It was one of those days, just never really got anything consistently going and hopefully tomorrow I can clean it up.”

 

The 15-time major winner had ankle surgery last April, shortly after withdrawing from the 2023 Masters during the third round due to plantar fasciitis in his foot. Woods played in the Hero World Challenge in December and finished in 18th place.

 

 

Things started out fine for Woods on the 18th hole, but it went sideways on his second shot.

 

After hitting a nifty 295-yard tee shot right down the barrel of the fairway, Woods shanked his second shot to the right of the natural amphitheater below the picturesque Riviera clubhouse.

 

The unwelcome lie deep in the rough behind some trees set up a difficult third shot. Woods was feeling adventurous, though, and he knocked the shot between two trees, over some bunkers and onto the green 15 feet from the hole. Woods was met with a raucous ovation from the gathered crowd after his impressive recovery shot. His long putt for par sailed past the hole, and Woods had to settle for bogey.

 

After the round, Woods explained why he might have shanked that second shot on 18.

 

“My back was spasming the last couple holes and it was locking up,” Woods said. “I came down and it didn’t move and I presented hosel first and shanked it.”

 

Woods finished the first round by shooting a 1-over par 72. Like Woods, the other two players in his group — Gary Woodland and Justin Thomas — hovered around par throughout the round. While Woodland finished 1-under par, Thomas finished 1-over par. Woods finished his day tied for 56th on the leaderboard, but there are plenty of golfers still on the course.

 

 

At 609 yards, the 17this the longest hole at the iconic Riviera Country Club. Woods in his prime likely would have thrived on a hole that plays into the strength of young, powerful players. The 48-year-old Woods showed some of his vintage self, hitting a 324-yard tee shot and reaching the green in two shots. Woods missed his 76-foot putt for eagle long to set up a six-foot putt for birdie, which he buried.

 

 

 

Woods’ high-lofting tee shot sailed through the crisp oceanside air and managed to evade the steep, deep bunkers that surround the green on this par-3. His 33-foot putt for birdie set up a tough four-foot shot to save par, which he executed with aplomb.

 

 

The even-par cruise control Woods had enjoyed for three holes hit a snag on the 15th hole. His putt for par rolled around the rim of the hole, and Woods had to settle for the bogey. The drop to 1-over par moved Woods into a tie for the 58th place on the leaderboard.

 

 

Woods is holding steady at even par midway through the back nine on Round 1. A beautiful wedge shot set up a par putt on the 13th hole. Woods needed two putts to reach par on the 14th.

 

 

 

There were nervy moments on the challenging 12th hole for Woods. After entering the hole hitting six of nine fairways, Woods sent his tee shot wide right into the line of spectators to the right of the fairway. He wasn’t alone in the wilderness, as Justin Thomas also went wide right off the tee. Amongst the careful watch of cellphone-holding gallery, Woods sent his second shot into the bunker but recovered to get his third shot onto the green. Woods missed his putt for par, but tapped in for the bogey.

 

 

 

Woods took advantage of the birdie-friendly 11th hole at Riviera to get back under par. After hitting the fairway off the tee, Woods deposited his second shot among the gathered spectators to the left of the fairway. His third shot was barely off the mark, as it hit the edge of the rough rather than the fringe of the green. Woods coolly sank the putt from the fringes of the green to get back to one under par.

 

 

 

Tiger found immediate trouble starting his second nine. On the 10th, his tee shot went over the green and into the left rear greenside bunker. He managed to get out of trouble and back on the green, leaving himself an eight-foot putt for par, but he misses and bogeys the hole

 

 

 

Finishing up his play on the front nine, Woods’ tee shot on another par 4 hit the left fairway, leaving him a manageable 164 yards to try to score another birdie. A four-foot putt on his third shot was true, as he settled for par and a score of -1 after the first nine holes

 

Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, and Will Zalatoris are tied for the lead at 5-under.

 

On No. 8, Woods hit the tee to his left, landing in the right fairway on the par 4, 436-yard hole, with the second hitting the green just feet from the rough. He was left with a 17-foot putt for birdie. He missed the birdie putt but tapped in the easy two-foot shot for par.

 

Tiger hit the fairway on No. 7, setting up another golden opportunity to make waves on the leaderboard. His second shot left him about 40 feet away from the cup. Later, his five-foot tap-in saved par.

 

 

At No. 6, with another chance to capitalize on a par three, Woods drove his tee shot right down the green continuing his consistent iron play, landing 14 feet from the hole. He is back under par after the birdie putt.

 

Tiger’s tee shot No. 5 gets him off to another excellent start, hitting the right fairway 152 yards from the hole using a three-wood. He left his second shot about eight feet from the cup, with a chance to get back under par. But his putter failed him as he overshot the hole, leaving him a par tap in from two feet.

 

 

No. 4 is a 232-yard par 3 and Woods’ tee was excellent, landing on the green, 15 feet from the hole, as he tries to bounce back after two straight bogeys. He easily taps in for the birdie to get back even par.

 

 

 

On the 448-yard, par 4 No. 3, Tiger’s tee shot went well off to the right, landing in rough on the golf cart path, and his second shot was no better, which he plotted in the right front of the greenside bunker. The third shot out of the bunker landed 6 feet from the hole, but he missed the putt badly and had to chip in from 3 feet, bogeying his second straight hole.

 

So far, Tiger is driving the ball well and hit the middle of the fairway on No. 2 off the tee, leaving him 174 yards to hole on the 480-yard par 4. The second shot hit just to the right of the fairway, leaving him 50 yards to try to save par. His third shot over the hole still landed on the green 15 feet from the cup, but that good start ended with a bogey on No. 2, dropping him back to even par.

 

 

 

Woods is paired with Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland. Opening on hole No. 1, a 498-yard par 5, Woods’ tee shot went nearly 300 yards to the right in some rough, just off the fairway. He used a 5-wood on the second shot and left the third shot on the green three feet from the hole for an excellent birdie opportunity. Woods taps in for birdie.

 

Woods is sporting his new threads, Sun Day Red, after announcing a split with Nike last month. Woods is wearing a white sweater with a black shirt underneath and a black hat with the new tiger logo. The logo has 15 stripes, one for each of Woods’ 15 Major victories. He is also debuting a new golf ball, the 2024 Bridgestone TOUR B X.

 

What is Tiger Woods’ tee time for the Genesis Invitational?

 

Tiger Woods tees off at 12:25 p.m. ET on Thursday in a group with Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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