LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods had some explaining to do Friday, a few putter so chilly it left him on the verge of lacking the minimize, and a few chauvinist prank he performed on Justin Thomas within the Genesis Invitational.
In his return to elite competition for the primary time in seven months, Woods brought on fairly a buzz within the opening spherical for all of the fallacious causes.
It began when he ripped a 323-yard drive, some 10 yards longer than the 29-year-old Thomas. Strolling off the tee, Woods discreetly put one thing in Thomas’ hand, which Thomas tossed to the bottom when he realized what it was — a tampon, to remind Thomas that Woods hit it farther. Woods laughed and put his arm round Thomas.
Social media got here to life when the second was posted. On Friday, one fan shouted, “Tampon!” at Woods after he made a uncommon putt.
Woods apologized after his bogey-bogey end for a 74 within the second spherical, which left him over the projected minimize line.
“It was imagined to be all enjoyable and video games and clearly it hasn’t turned out that method,” Woods mentioned. ”If I offended anyone in any method, form or type, I’m sorry. It was not supposed to be that method. It was simply we play pranks on each other on a regular basis and virally I believe this didn’t come throughout that method.”
Exterior of swearing following dangerous photographs, Woods not often brings this sort of consideration to himself contained in the ropes.
The golf wasn’t significantly better, both.
He missed birdie possibilities early and par possibilities late, and the end was a polar reverse from his opening spherical when he closed with three straight birdies for a 69.
Woods got here inside inches of an ace on the par-3 14th, his fifth gap of the spherical, however he missed a 5-foot birdie probability two holes later.
“I didn’t putt effectively right this moment,” Woods mentioned. “I blocked a variety of putts early, and that is in all probability the very best rating I might have shot right this moment. Most likely ought to have shot in all probability 5 or 6 higher than this simply. Simply didn’t make the putts early and the center a part of the spherical after I had these alternatives. And so they weren’t very exhausting putts.”
He nonetheless was 2 underneath for the match, even for his spherical, when he got here up wanting his goal on the par-3 sixth gap, the well-known inexperienced with a bunker within the center. The ball rolled down the sting to the entrance of the inexperienced, and the pin was minimize to the highest left.
Arms crossed and a lob wedge in his arms, he studied a number of choices. He might have pitched it to the again of the inexperienced and up the slope and let it run again towards the outlet.
“If I chipped it up on prime, there’s an opportunity that it might truly come again to the entrance a part of the inexperienced,” Woods mentioned, including that’s what occurred when he tried it Wednesday in the course of the pro-am.
He modified to the putter to tear up the slope, left of the pin to depart himself about 10 ft away for an opportunity at par. One downside.
“The hill caught it greater than I assumed it will,” he mentioned.
It took pace off the ball and it turned proper, down the sting of the bunker and into the sand. He blasted out to five ft and made a quick putt with sufficient break that he needed to begin it outdoors the cup.
That was the beginning of a nasty end. On the eighth, his tee shot discovered a bunker and he caught it heavy, hit his third over the inexperienced and did effectively to putt from the primary minimize of turf to tap-in vary for bogey.
On his closing gap at No. 9, he got here up brief and plugged into the bunker. All he might do with a entrance pin was blasted out by way of the inexperienced, and his par putt caught the lip. One other bogey left him at 1-over 143, outdoors the highest 65 when he signed his card, and 10 photographs behind the early lead posted by Keith Mitchell.
“I had two dangerous calls on the wind on 6 and 9 and find yourself costing me two photographs there,” Woods mentioned.
He must wait till the second spherical ended to see if it was sufficient to make it to the weekend on the match he hosts.