After an apology from Sergio Garcia, a non-apology from Matt Kuchar, and an uncooperative Mother Nature on Valentine’s Day, it’s time for everyone to focus again on Tiger Woods. Kidding. Sort of. A weather-delayed first round at Riviera re-starts on Friday morning and the 14-time major champ will be in the Hollywood-area spotlight as he finally begins his Genesis Open. And golf fans could potentially see a LOT of the tournament host as the event tries to play catch up after heavy rains on Thursday.
Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas (Decent group, eh?) are scheduled to tee off at 8:32 local time (11:32 ET). The hope is they will complete their first rounds and then play as much of their second rounds as possible before darkness. And Tiger’s hope is to finally win for the first time at this historic layout where he missed the cut last year. We’ll be tracking Tiger every step of the way so keep it right here for the latest scores, news and highlights. (All times eastern)
5:08: Tiger goes high with his pitch—having to navigate around the front bunker, and plays it nicely—spinning it about 7 feet short of the hole. So Tiger will have a good look for an opening birdie to start his second round.
5:02: Only a little more than a half hour after finishing his first round, Tiger Woods (-1) — along with Justin Thomas (-5) and Rory McIlroy (+1) — has teed off in his second round. The group started on the drivable 10th hole, and Tiger has driven his tee shot just off the green. He’ll have a chance to put his pitch shot close to start his second round with a birdie.
4:24: Tiger narrowly misses the birdie putt at the 18th hole, so he’ll tap in for a par and an opening-round, one-under 70 at Riviera. Having three-putted for a fourth time on the 17th hole to drop a shot in disappointing fashion, Tiger will head to his second round a bit frustrated. But the four consecutive birdies showed him being able to score well at Riviera, where he has never won.
Tiger, JT (who birdied 18 to finish at 5-under) and Rory will head right back for their second round in this marathon day for them.
4:18: Tiger responds to that shocking three-putt with a perfect drive and a towering 6-iron on Riviera’s famed 18th. Woods is in good shape to at least make par the difficult hole, but as we’ve seen all day, a two-putt is anything but automatic.
Here’s an unusual stat on Tiger three-putting four times this afternoon. He’s making some history in a bad way…
4:06: So much for the momentum. . . After a decent approach shot that spins back to about 20 feet, Woods runs his birdie putt a couple feet by and. . . gulp. . . misses the comebacker from about two feet. Wow. That’s four three-putts on the day as Tiger falls back to one under with one hole to play.
3:57: Uh-oh, it’s raining in southern California again. Meanwhile, Woods is plodding his way up the par-5 17th. After pulling his drive into the left rough and drawing a poor lie, Woods pushed his layup slightly into the first cut of the right rough. He’ll have a some sort of wedge to a back-right hole location.
3:50: Tiger’s tee shot was tracking on the par-3 16th, but it comes up about 30 feet short. From there, he two-putts for par to remain at two under. Justin Thomas makes his 10-foot birdie effort to move to four under, while Rory McIlroy remains at one over. McIlroy hast two holes to avert his first over-par score of 2019.
3:40: After another great drive and a solid approach, Woods races his birdie attempt nearly five feet past the hole. But he keeps the overall positive momentum going by converting the par putt to remain at two under. Tiger has three more holes to play. At least, before he gets a lunch break.
3:24: BANG! There’s the bounce back from Tiger. It just came one hole later. And from farther away as Woods drains his 12-footer for birdie on No. 14.
Woods is now back to two under, five shots behind Jordan Spieth, who has to be pleased to still be in front by two despite these soft conditions.
3:17: Tiger hits a great shot on the difficult par-3 14th hole to about 15 feet. He’ll have a good look at birdie coming up. In the meantime, here’s a look at how the leader board stands with Jordan Spieth still leading the way.
Click here for full scores.
3:13: Woods stuck his approach to about four feet below the hole on No. 13. A bounce back birdie looked like a forgone conclusion until he pushed his effort. Woof. That’s two three-putts and two short misses on the greens for Tiger today. He remains at one under. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, after getting to two under through eight, has fallen to one over after back-to-back bogeys. Justin Thomas, the third player in the group, continues to lead this trio at three under.
3:05: After hitting fade after fade, Woods steps to the 13th tee and rips a draw around the corner, perfectly setting up his next shot. Good to see him working it both ways with ease.
3:01: Tiger pushed his tee shot into the right rough, then hit a fantastic recovery shot from a thick lie onto the green. He had a long look at birdie that rolled about four feet past, leaving him with a tricky left-to-right par putt, which he missed. That’s three three putts on the day for Woods, and he’s still one under.
2:39: Not the best chip from Woods, as he left himself about six feet for birdie, but he makes it anyway. Four straight for Tiger to get to two under for the day.
2:30: Woods rips a 3-wood from 269 to just in front of the green. Hate to jinx him, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t easily make his fourth straight birdie here (ducks).
2:20: Three in a row for Woods as he rolls in another at No. 10 and moves to one under. If he finds the fairway again at the 11th, four in a row will be in his sights. Meanwhile, Rory makes his par to stay at one under and JT ends up holing his 10 footer for birdie to get to four under. Finally a little bit of JUICE from this threesome.
By the way, it looks like we know when they’ll be heading back out for round two later today. Here’s an update from the Tiger Tracker:
That should give them enough time to get at least 11 or 12 holes in.
At the 11th, Woods stripes another drive down the fairway. He’s really starting to cook.
2:12: Tiger’s shot was a tad more difficult than we thought, as he had to avoid a bunker and take it up high to get it back to the pin. He was successful, sticking it to about three feet. Hell of a shot. Even better was Rory’s shot, as he flopped it from a nice lie and got it to hang on just off the back of the green and stay out of the back bunker. Thomas, who had the easiest shot, put too much spin on his chip, leaving himself with about 10 feet for birdie.
2:07: Finally, Tiger, Rory and JT hit their tee shots, and it looks like the ensuing entertainment will be well worth the wait. Tiger is in the collection area left of the green, where he has a straightforward chip that should set him up with a good chance to make birdie. Thomas is just in front of the green, and he’ll have a great chance to make a birdie as well. Rory … um … not so much. He’s in the rough with a greenside bunker in front of him and a pin he won’t be able to get close to, and just holding the green would be a miracle.
1:52: Woods drains his four-footer for bird and turns in even par 35. Real strong finish to his opening nine, and now it looks like he’ll have a long wait at the 10th. DeChambeau, Kuchar and Rahm have still yet to hit their tee shots.
1:47: Tiger had just 122 left to the green and stuck one in there close. He has four feet left for birdie to turn in even par, which would be a small victory after that ugly three putt back at No. 7. Not to mention he’ll have a prime opportunity to get into red figures at the driveable par-4 10th.
1:41: Woods cranks another high fade right down the middle with the driver at No. 9. With the tees up today, he’ll have a low iron in his hand for his approach.
1:34: And he’s on the board! Woods bounces back with a birdie putt from 15 feet, getting him back to one over. We’ll see if that gets him going before making the turn.
1:30: From 125 yards out, Woods hit a wedge and hated it from the second he made contact. While he did pull it, he’s still hole high and inside 20 feet. Hideki Matsuyama-esque move from Tiger.
1:24: Woods rips one right down the middle at the par-4 eighth. Should have a short iron in.
1:15: Tiger’s birdie putt was actually from just off the green on the fringe, and he rolled it by some four feet. Then, he missed the comebacker for par, dropping to two over on the day. Oof.
1:09: Fairway and a green for Woods at the seventh. Good look at birdie coming up to get back to level par.
12:58: Another hole, another par for Woods, who two-putted from 24 feet on the par-3 sixth. In the group up ahead, though, Jon Rahm is making a move at three under through six.
12:47: Another meh hole for Tiger on No. 5, just missing the fairway with his tee shot, finding the front of the green with a so-so approach, and two-putting for another par from 43 feet. Woods remains at one over through five holes while his playing partners, McIlroy and Thomas, both remain at one under.
12:42: As Matt Kuchar’s ball is in the air on the par-3 sixth, a fan yells, “Go low—just not with the gratuity!” Despite Matt maintaining this is “not a story,” it is. And this won’t be the last comment like this.
12:29: Woods hit a nice shot to about 15 feet on the par-3 fourth, but ran his birdie effort by the hole. Still one over. Still no highlights. At least, from Tiger. Here was Spieth’s closing birdie from about an hour ago, because there is not much else exciting going on right now.
12:17: Another missed fairway and another short approach from Tiger on the par-4 third. Although, Woods found the putting surface, he was unable to two-putt from 63 feet, missing a seven-footer for par after badly misreading his first putt. That drops Tiger to one over through three holes. Not a lot of highlights so far. . .
12:02: Tiger misses right off the tee on No. 2 then comes up short on another approach. But his pitch shot nearly goes down, leaving him with a tap-in par. Even par through two holes.
11:49: After that perfect opening tee shot, Tiger hit a hideous approach with a 5-iron that came up way short in a fairway bunker. From there, he hit his third to 10 feet but missed the putt to walk away with a disappointing par. Both of Tiger’s playing partners, McIlroy and Thomas, make birdie.
11:38: Matt Kuchar just misses his eagle attempt from 25 feet on No. 1, but taps in for birdie. Kuchar has been in the news a lot this week over a caddie controversy dating back to his win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. A controversy he didn’t help with his comments on Wednesday. Is it possible some of those “Kuuuuch” shouts will turn to “Mooooch”? Kinda sounded like it on the first hole. . .
11:34: Jordan Spieth is in with a seven-under-par 64 to take the early lead. Spieth needed only 21 putts during his bogey-free round. Of course, starting tournaments hasn’t been a problem for Spieth of late. Finishing, however, has been a different story. Incredibly, Spieth is looking for his first win since the 2017 British Open and his first top 5 since last year’s Masters.
11:32: Woods smashes a driver off the first tee that finds the fairway. The opening par 5 at Riviera is essentially a long par 4 and one of the easiest holes on the PGA Tour all year so Tiger is thinking at least birdie after that tee shot.
10:53: So far, so good on the Friday weather:
And with lift, clean and place in play (for at least the first round), low scores are out there. Let’s set the over/under on the Par-71 layout at 68.5.
10:45: We are approximately 45 minutes away from Tiger’s tee time and it’s another major champ who is already off to a fantastic start. Jordan Spieth has the lead at six under through 15 holes. Spieth leads Patrick Rodgers by one and then there’s a big group at four under, including Bill Haas, who is playing in the event a year after being involved in a car accident during last year’s tournament that killed a friend he was staying with. Make sure you read Brian Wacker’s piece from earlier in the week on how Haas is still trying to move on from that tragedy.
10:35: As we move within an hour from Tiger teeing off, check out GOLFTV’s latest behind-the-scenes video with Woods in which he says his bag has up to 16(!) golf gloves during rainy rounds and he explains why he doesn’t like wearing rain jackets:
“Pops used to say, ‘Once you’re wet, you’re wet. Deal with it.'” Talk about a great life lesson.