Tiger Woods playing with two other stars on comeback trail in first official PGA Tour event since Masters

Feb, 2024

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Tiger Woods has a new caddie, a new line of clothing but the same pursuit as always.

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“A ‘W’ this week would be pretty good,” he said. “I’ve never won this event.”

Woods, the winner of 82 PGA Tour titles, made his Tour debut here in 1992 but has yet to win in 15 previous starts at Riviera Country Club. Woods made clear that it frustrates him to no end.

“You can see it in my face, right?” he said.

He’s both the tournament host at the Genesis Invitational and playing for the first time in an official Tour event since the Masters after undergoing surgery to fuse his right ankle two weeks later and didn’t play a competitive round until December at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He finished 18th out of 20 players.

Woods said in December that his goal this year is to play one event a month through the major season. Woods played nine holes on Tuesday and competed in the pro-am Wednesday in a group with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and veteran Major League Baseball player Aaron Hicks, who is married to Cheyenne Woods, Tiger’s niece.

On a glorious sunny day with just enough breeze that Woods wore a black sweater for 17 of the 18 holes, he was sporting Sun Day Red attire, the new clothing line he launched on Monday and a prototype of the brand’s footwear. Woods noted that he had to make a few modifications to the footwear to compensate for the different terrain from practicing near his home in Florida. Woods’s swing looked both fluid and powerful, and he had good control of his ball during the practice session.

“Never take a day off,” a fan shouted to Woods, which drew a wide smile from the 15-time major winner.

Between the eighth green and the ninth tee, Woods indulged in an In-n-Out burger, picking off the pickles and disposing of them in a trash container.

His gait, which has had a hitch since being involved in a serious rollover car crash south of Los Angeles after this event three years ago that severely injured his lower right leg, ankle and foot, looked improved and he never labored at any point in the round.

“I’m just happy to see the man not limping as much,” Max Homa, the 2021 Genesis Invitational winner, said. “Every event’s better when Tiger is here. It’s pretty amazing what he brings to an event with his presence on the golf course. Obviously it’s great that he’s had his name attached to this, but you want to see him play, all the fans want to see him play.”

Woods also has enlisted a new caddie on the bag this week in veteran Lance Bennett, who formerly worked for Matt Kuchar among several pros.

Woods will tee off at 12:25 p.m. ET in the first round in a grouping with Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland on Thursday. When 13-time winner Jordan Spieth mentioned to Woods that he was playing right in front of him, Woods joked, “OK, I’ll hit into you then.”


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