AP

Tiger Woods goes viral for all the wrong reasons at Riviera

Feb 16, 2023, 11:52 PM | Updated: Feb 18, 2023, 5:58 am

Tiger Woods waits for his turn in play during the second round of the Genesis Invitational golf tou...

Tiger Woods waits for his turn in play during the second round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

(AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods had some explaining to do Friday, about a putter so cold he nearly missed the cut at Riviera, and about a chauvinist prank he played on Justin Thomas in the Genesis Invitational.

In his return to elite competition for the first time in seven months, Woods caused quite a buzz in the opening round for all the wrong reasons.

It started when he ripped a 323-yard drive, some 10 yards longer than the 29-year-old Thomas. Walking off the tee, Woods discreetly put something in Thomas’ hand, which Thomas tossed to the ground when he realized what it was — a tampon, to remind him that Woods hit it farther. Woods laughed and put his arm around Thomas.

Social media came to life when the moment was posted. On Friday, one fan shouted, “Tampon!” at Woods after he made a rare putt.

Woods apologized after his bogey-bogey finish for a 74 in the second round, which left him over the projected cut line. By the end of the day, he moved up enough spots that he was certain to be around for the weekend. He was 11 shots behind Max Homa.

“It was supposed to be all fun and games and obviously it hasn’t turned out that way,” Woods said. “If I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way.”

Outside of swearing following bad shots, Woods rarely brings this kind of attention to himself inside the ropes.

The golf wasn’t much better, either.

He missed birdie chances early and par chances late, and the finish was a polar opposite from his opening round when he closed with three straight birdies for a 69.

Woods came within inches of an ace on the par-3 14th, his fifth hole of the round, but he missed a 5-foot birdie chance two holes later.

“I did not putt well today,” Woods said. “I blocked a lot of putts early, and this is probably the highest score I could have shot today. Probably should have shot probably five or six better than this easily. Just didn’t make the putts early and the middle part of the round when I had those opportunities. And they weren’t very hard putts.”

He still was 2 under for the tournament, even for his round, when he came up short of his target on the par-3 sixth hole, the famous green with a bunker in the middle. The ball rolled down the edge to the front of the green, and the pin was cut to the top left.

Arms crossed and a lob wedge in his hands, he studied multiple options. He could have pitched it to the back of the green and up the slope and let it run back toward the hole.

“If I chipped it up on top, there’s a chance that it could actually come back to the front part of the green,” Woods said, adding that’s what happened when he tried it Wednesday during the pro-am.

He changed to the putter to rip up the slope, left of the pin to leave himself about 10 feet away for a chance at par. One problem.

“The hill caught it more than I thought it would,” he said.

It took speed off the ball and it turned right, down the edge of the bunker and into the sand. He blasted out to 5 feet and made a fast putt with enough break that he had to start it outside the cup.

That was the start of a bad finish. On the eighth, his tee shot found a bunker and he caught it heavy, hit his third over the green and did well to putt from the first cut of turf to tap-in range for bogey.

On his final hole at No. 9, he came up short and plugged into the bunker. All he could do with a front pin was blasted out through the green, and his par putt caught the lip. Another bogey left him at 1-over 143, outside the top 65 when he signed his card.

“I had two bad calls on the wind on 6 and 9 and end up costing me two shots there,” Woods said.

The tournament host is playing for the first time since 2020 because of injuries to his right leg from a car crash a year later.

___

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Tiger Woods goes viral for all the wrong reasons at Riviera