Tiger Woods shoots 76, misses Genesis Open cut after promising start at Riviera

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Tiger Woods shoots 76, misses Genesis Open cut after promising start at Riviera

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods shoots 76, misses Genesis Open cut after promising start at Riviera

LOS ANGELES—The left side of Riviera was in play, the putter felt lousy in his hands for the first time this year and Tiger Woods is justifiably leaving the Genesis Open following a second-round 76.

“I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn’t feel very good on the greens and consequently never made a run,” Woods said following the round. “I knew I had to make a run on that back nine and I went the other way.”

The round began in promising fashion with a birdie at the par-4 third following a perfect drive. A dreadful pitch at the fourth had Woods audibly scolding himself for leaving a slippery downhill putt on one of Riviera’s more beguiling greens. 

A birdie at the fifth swung the momentum back and a Sunday-sized gallery roared, only to watch Woods miss-hit another iron shot at the par-3 sixth. The iron woes peaked at the par-4 ninth, where a booming 320-yard drive up the left side gave him a perfect angle to attack the front hole location. Woods dunked a shot in the front bunker and finished the front nine with a 37.

A perfect tee shot to the front of the drivable 10th and two-putt birdie gave hope of an under-par back nine and weekend return. The joy was short-lived as a bogey-6 at 11 began a three hole bogey run.  

With seven of his tee shots veering left, Woods faces a new issue to work through: both sides of the fairway were in play, a confidence-eroding problem that will have Woods searching for answers after earlier this week touting an elimination of the left miss.

“If I knew, I would have fixed it, but my cut was just not cutting,” he said.

Woods and playing partner Rory McIlroy were engaged in chatter the entire back nine, with their TaylorMade driver switches one topic of discussion. 

“We were just talking about spin rates, stuff like that with the drivers. Going from our old M2s to the new M3s,” Woods said.

While poor driving gets most of the attention, Woods was undone by mediocre iron play heightened by Riviera’s small, firm and fast greens.

“I was telling Joey [LaCava] all day, I kept missing in the wrong spots,” Woods said of his trusted caddie. “All the spots you’re supposed to not miss it in I was putting it in, and that was frustrating because I knew where to hit it and I wasn’t able to hit it there. So I need to do some work there to make sure that I’m hitting the ball in the spots that I want to miss it in.”

The positives will get lost under the glaring lights of a “missed cut” at a tournament benefitting his rebranded TGR Foundation. However, the two days at Riviera proved that Woods has the power to compete with the game’s longest drivers, a short game in outstanding condition given such a long layoff and an overall positive energy around him thanks to a noticeable increase in fan interaction, particularly with juniors. For someone who less than a year ago was struggling with pain and pill issues, Woods looks like he is enjoying playing tournament golf.  

“I wish I would have two more competitive rounds to head into next week, but that’s not the case,” he said. “But I get a chance to do some work and I’ll go do some work.”

Woods has committed to the Honda Classic, where he will face his third straight difficult golf course. He’s leaving town to regroup and prepare for another tough grind. Calling his second official PGA Tour event since returning a setback would be absurd given there were doubts he would ever play again. But at some point Woods’ patience will be tested by his iron play, balky driver and an inability to put the pieces together.

For now, however, Woods believes the simple act of playing under the tournament spotlight is the first hurdle.

“I am progressing, I’m starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds,” he said.


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