Tiger Woods, one of the worst shots of his life

In the lead-up to the Genesis Invitational, Tiger Woods stated that, at 48 years old, "the goal is a victory".

by Andrea Gussoni
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Tiger Woods, one of the worst shots of his life
© Michael Owens / Getty Images Sport

In the lead-up to the Genesis Invitational, Tiger Woods stated that, at 48 years old, "the goal is a victory." It's an ambitious declaration from the winner of 15 majors, who on Thursday competed in an official PGA Tour event for the first time in the last 312 days.

The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California, showed in its first day that the golf legend is still somewhat far from that goal he sets for himself, although signs of improvement are evident. Tiger, experiencing a mix of ups and downs during his first official 18 holes in nearly a year (having played in December at the Hero World Challenge and the PNC Championship, events not part of the PGA's official calendar), finished his initial round at the Genesis with a score of 72, one over par, with five birdies and six bogeys.

The leader, American Patrick Cantlay, sits comfortably at -7.

Tiger Woods, results

The positive for Tiger is that he showed flashes of the magic he possesses right from the start, with a great chip on the 1st hole securing a birdie.

He also didn't seem to suffer excessively from his right leg, which has been troublesome in recent years and seemingly less problematic after the surgery he underwent last year following the Masters at Augusta, his last official appearance until yesterday.

However, the downside is that he did experience other physical issues, specifically with his back. "I had back spasms on the last three holes," Woods explained after finishing his first round at Riviera. These issues may explain his second shot on the 18th, where the veteran golfer made one of the worst shots in recent memory.

Going for the green, Tiger ended up shanking the ball, hitting it with the inside of the club, sending it far to the right, advancing less than 100 meters and complicating a hole where he ended up with a bogey. "It's been a while, definitely a long time since I was in that position," he responded, downplaying it when asked about the last time he made such an error, more typical of amateurs.

But even one of the greatest, or perhaps the greatest, in history can make mistakes. "With the spasms, I locked up, didn't move, didn't rotate," he explained. That unfortunate shot prevented Tiger from finishing his first round at even par at Riviera, where the tournament organized by his foundation takes place, and where, surprisingly, he has never won in 14 events played.

His birdie on the 1st hole was erased with stumbles on the 2nd and 3rd, although he soared on the challenging 4th hole. In fact, on Thursday, he achieved only the second birdie of his life on that hole, which he has played 47 times and had only birdied once before in 1999.

A more than satisfactory piece of news. He was under par twice more, although he never reached -2 because he combined successes with errors in a round where he debuted his new clothing brand, Sun Day Red, and showed that he is still far from his peak, though not hopeless either.

The challenge for Woods on Friday will be to try to make the cut, as the top 50 (and those tied or within 10 shots of the leaders) advance to the weekend, and he is currently in 49th place. He's already far from the lead, which is held by his compatriot Patrick Cantlay.

The former FedExCup champion opened his participation with a round of 64, seven under par, with eight birdies and only one bogey. Just one shot behind are Australians Jason Day and Cam Davis, as well as American Luke List. However, the attention, as it always is when he plays, is focused on Tiger Woods, who is back.

Finally.

Tiger Woods
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