Five things we learned from Tiger Woods' pro-am round
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Fresh off his T23 at the Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger Woods put in his final preparations for his tilt at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. In just his second full-field event of the season as he continues his return from back fusion surgery, Woods looked fresh and happy on the way to a 2-under 69 despite starting his warmup in near darkness and chilly temperatures. Here are five quick things we learned from the 79-time PGA TOUR winner’s preparations as he looks to better the two runner-up results he posted at Riviera in 1998 and 1999 in his first return to the iconic Los Angeles layout since 2006. 1. He still hit a few stray tee shots: Woods hit just 19 fairways in four rounds at Torrey Pines but still managed to find his way to the weekend. He vowed to work on it in his time off. On Wednesday, he hit four fairways on each side of the course to put up 8 of 14 on the round. On occasion, he went to the 3-wood and 2-iron off the tee. He has changed to a stiffer driver shaft this week and is hopeful his accuracy won’t desert him. His power and speed was still there – with some of his better drives going well over 300 yards. 2. His iron play looked plenty crisp: While Woods missed a few fairways – as he often does – his approach game was pretty impressive. He hit six of nine greens on the front side and then dialed up eight of nine on the back for a tidy 14 of 18. While he’d like his proximity to the hole to be tighter in competition he still gave himself plenty of looks at birdie. 3. His short game is ready to save him again if need be: At Torrey Pines, Woods put on a short game clinic for most of the week, scrambling brilliantly despite his wayward drives. He produced much of the same Wednesday in a round that had three birdies and just one bogey. Granted the bogey came via a three-putt on the drivable par-4 10th at Riviera but outside of that blemish he chipped close when in trouble. 4. He still draws the crowds: While this is clearly an obvious statement, the galleries out to watch Woods were very healthy despite the early 6:40 a.m. start time. It might have helped that actor and Riviera member Mark Wahlberg was also in the group but clearly Woods’ fellow Californians are very excited to see him at Riviera for the first time since 2006. Remember this is where it all began for Woods as a 16-year-old in 1992. 5. He really cares and wants to compete: Despite the long grind of a round Woods headed straight to the range post pro-am to tidy up a few things in his swing and really dial himself in before Thursday’s opening round. While he was extremely friendly throughout his round, chatting with players, officials, fans and media, Woods made it clear he was here for business. That business starts at 7:22am local time off the 10th tee Thursday with fellow former FedExCup champions Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Be sure to watch PGA TOUR LIVE or catch up on our live blog on PGATOUR.COM.
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