Tiger Woods deals with back spasms, cards 72 at Genesis Invitational

When interviewing Tiger Woods about his next-to-last swing during Thursday’s opening round of the Genesis Invitational, a reporter didn’t want to bring up the most dreaded five-letter word in golf.

The fifteen-time major winner spoke for him.

Woods responded, “Oh, definitely, I shanked it.”

Making his first start of the 2024 season at Riviera Country Club, Tiger Woods said he was having back spasms during the final few holes. This was his first official PGA Tour tournament since the Masters in April.

Tiger Woods’s back locked up when he tried to hit an 8-iron from the right side of the 18th fairway. His ball hit a eucalyptus tree head-on and landed behind four other trees.

“Well, my back was spasming the last couple holes and it was locking up,” Tiger Woods explained. “I came down and it didn’t move, and I presented [the] hosel first and shanked it.”

Tiger Woods managed to hit his third shot onto the green for some reason. It was a two-putt for bogey. His round ended disappointingly, as he finished at 1-over 72. Eight strokes behind Patrick Cantlay, the leader of the first round, he was tied for 49th place.

If Woods is going to play this weekend, he has work to do on Friday. The top 50 scores and ties, as well as any player within 10 strokes of the lead, will make the 36-hole cut in the PGA Tour’s third marquee event of the season.

Woods had six bogeys and five birdies on his card. He started the back nine with a 1-under 34, but bogeyed two of the first three holes. Before the mishit on the last hole, he made another bogey on the par-4 15th. He characterized the first round of his match as “a lot of good and a lot of indifferent.”

Woods stated, “It was one or the other.” I don’t remember having many pars; it wasn’t a lot. I just never really got anything going today; I was either making birdies or bogeys.

This Thursday’s round marked Woods’ first competitive play since December’s unofficial Hero World Challenge, where he placed 18th out of 20 competitors.

It was hardly shocking that most of his moves were stale. He made eight of fourteen fairways and ten of eighteen greens. Off the tee, he averaged 290.7 yards. He lost over two strokes to the field overall and required thirty putts.

Woods admitted, I had trouble keeping up with the greens’ pace. Even though I made a couple today, I was still shocked by how quickly they went. I ran a lot by the hole today, and it was really nerve-wracking. However, the golf course is in such excellent condition. It’s quite amazing that the golf course opened this quickly given the amount of rain they’ve had.

In order to treat post-traumatic arthritis he sustained in a car accident near Riviera Country Club in February 2021, Woods, 48, underwent fusion surgery on April 19. He missed about eight months of work due to the treatment. Although Woods claimed he has been having back pain at home, this was the first competitive round he had experienced in a long time. Following the round on Thursday, Woods reported that while his right foot felt OK, his leg hurt.

“Things are a little bit sore, but that’s to be expected,” Woods stated. “That’s nothing that we weren’t prepared for, and we’ve got some work to do tonight and tomorrow.”

Due to his limited competitive play, Woods is not accustomed to altering his swing and putting technique over a round. In the two seasons prior, he participated in just five official events, playing 72 holes in just two of them. Last year at the Genesis Invitational, he made the cut and tied for 45th place.

“I’m going to be rusty, and I have to do a better job at home prepping,” Woods stated. We have to improve our lifting, treating, and maintaining rehab regimens, among other things. I simply haven’t done it for a long time.

At Riviera, Woods will begin play at 2:54 p.m. ET on Friday.

Credits: ESPN

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