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 ET)
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.