Woods has not played a competitive round in seven months
Tiger Woods returned to the golf course Thursday for his first competitive round of golf since the British Open in July, and the 15-time major winner did not disappoint.
Woods shot a 2-under, 69 on Thursday at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, ending the day just five shots off the lead.
Woods finished his round with a bang, sinking birdie putts on the final three holes, and will enter round two tied with 16 other golfers at 2-under par.
“I didn’t want to be the idiot host to miss it right in front of everybody after I just went birdie-birdie,” Woods said of his birdie putt on No. 18, according to ESPN. “It was a great round.”
Max Homa and Keith Mitchell sit atop the leaderboard at 5-under, with Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar and Collin Morikawa not far behind.
In his first competitive round in seven months, Woods drove the ball off the tee well, going over 330 yards on his drive three times.
“There’s nothing like come game time, just the feeling of the butterflies and trying to calm all that stuff down,” Woods said. “Even though it’s cold out here, [the ball] was going even further than we expected. I had to dial all that back in.”
Woods has not won a tournament since 2019 and has struggled with regaining the strength in his legs following his horrific car crash in February 2021.
But the golf legend has not lost his competitive fire.
“I have not come around to the idea of being [a ceremonial golfer]. If I’m playing, I’m playing to win,” Woods told the media on Tuesday. “I know that players have played, and they are ambassadors of the game and try to grow the game. I can’t wrap my mind around that as a competitor. If I’m playing in the event, I’m going to try and beat you. I’m there to get a Win.
“Making a cut’s a great thing. If I enter the event, it’s always to get a W. There will come a point in time where my body will not allow me to do that anymore, and that’s probably sooner rather than later. But wrapping my head around that transition and being an ambassador role and just playing and just trying to be out here with the guys? No, that’s just not in my DNA.”
Woods will tee off at 10:24 a.m. ET on Friday alongside Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.