Tiger Woods

The distance from the 18th green to the Riviera Country Club clubhouse is quite steep. Tiger Woods’ smile, though, seemed to ease whatever discomfort he might have been experiencing in his right ankle as the crowd yelled his name and filled the grassy auditorium surrounding the hole.

Woods finished his first round of competitive golf in seven months with three birdies on the final three holes to shoot a 2-under 69 at the Genesis Invitational and make his comeback to the PGA Tour an electrifying one, despite an ailment that is still troubling the 15-time major winner as he walks.

Max Homa and Keith Mitchell, the joint leaders, are five strokes ahead of Woods.

Woods stated of his birdie putt on hole No. 18, “I didn’t want to be the idiot host to miss it right in front of everybody after I just went birdie-birdie.” It was a fantastic round.

Woods’ happiness on the 18th was not simply the result of seven months of waiting and recovery, but also a fitting conclusion to a round that was everything but simple. Woods persevered for more than five hours, making crucial pars along the way, and recovered from three bogeys to finish with a flurry of legendary shots that completely changed the tone of his game.

On Tuesday, Woods told reporters that making shots wasn’t a problem. He went out there and demonstrated as much on Thursday. Woods regularly drove the ball more than 320 yards off the tee (three of his drives travelled farther than 330 yards), and on a few holes, he outdrove both Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, his playing partners.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

The way the course is designed, as Woods noted, helps him to gain greater distance off the tee because of the roll the ball receives; but, he still had to adapt to the distance he was obtaining solely based on his own willpower.

When it’s game time, Woods added, “there’s nothing like the feeling of the butterflies and trying to calm all that stuff down.” “Even Despite the cold outside, [the ball] was travelling further than we had anticipated. All of that has to be adjusted again.

It was anticipated that Woods would struggle on the back nine given his physical condition. Even though that might have been the case, his performance increased as the round went on. Drives increased in distance, approach approaches tightened up, and putts began to fall. Before going up to the 16th tee and hitting the shot of the day, Woods made three consecutive pars after making bogeys on the 10th and 12th holes.

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Woods positioned himself to the left of the tee box and struck a nine iron that faded to the right and landed pin high, five feet from the cup. The Woods appeared to get the boost he needed when the putt slid in on the right side. Later, on the par-5 17th, he hit it 322 yards and missed a 24-foot putt for a birdie. It was excellent enough to get him to pump his fist for the first time today.

It nearly felt like a formality as he reached the 18th green and only had a few feet left for his third consecutive birdie. No fist pump occurred when the ball landed; instead, he immediately saluted the supporters who had been clapping for him nonstop since the first tee shot.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

All day, I tried to calm myself down, said Woods. I haven’t played, so I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing here. Given his apparent state of health, Woods’ debut is encouraging. On Thursday, he continued to walk with a tiny hiccup as he attempted to relieve the pressure on his right ankle. Woods took off his right shoe a few occasions during the round to alter his ankle brace and sock. He occasionally tilted his right foot upward as he waited to tee off in order to extend it as well.

Midway through the round, Woods finished up on the 11th green and took a moment to massage some cream into his lower right back.

“My ankle is considerably smaller than it ever was. I’ve undergone so many operations that my ankle Woods remarked, “The leg just keeps shifting, just keeps altering. “Yeah, the socks and the shoes are constantly changing. Every target is shifting. How much I’m moving, how little I’m moving, how active I am, how inactive I am, and which muscles are engaged and which ones aren’t. It’s constantly a moving target.

Tiger Woods

The true test will now begin. With a 13-hour turnaround to prepare his body for another 18 holes in cooler temperatures, Woods is scheduled to play the second round at 7:24 a.m. local time on Friday after concluding his round on Thursday after 5 p.m. local time. As Woods clarified, there will be a lot of icing and treatment in the interim to prepare for tomorrow. McIlroy, who is his playing companion, stated that he will spend some hitting the driver at that moment.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

McIlroy declared, “I’m going to work on the range.” I dislike it when he hits it by me.

Woods remarked that playing alongside Thomas and McIlroy, two of his closest friends, was a big part of what made the round fun.

The ebb and flow of teasing, supporting, and sharing stories, according to Woods. I hadn’t been out here, so I missed some of the Tour’s events, which was sort of amusing.

On Thursday, it was clear that Woods was enjoying being back at various times. Yet it was equally evident that his happiness following the round was still based on doing well and, in his eyes, getting a chance to win.

Woods stated, “That’s the only reason I tee it up.

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