By Nate Schwartz
Early Valentine’s Day morning, at a time when many happy partners around the world were giddily preparing breakfast in bed for their loved ones, Tiger Woods was on the 10th-hole tee at the Riviera Country Club with his playing partners, Justin Thomas and Steve Stricker, gearing up for the second round of the Genesis Invitational.
The morning seemed promising for Woods when he birdied his first hole of the day, but things began to spiral when he logged a double bogey on hole 15 and then a string of bogeys to close out the round. The late-game collapse left Woods with a final score of two-over-par and dropped his place on the leaderboard from 17th to 45th. Woods, whose TGR Foundation hosted the tournament, did not equivocate as he broke down his underwhelming performance in a post-round interview.
“I made some pretty bad mistakes out there,” Woods said. “I wasn’t sharp today either. I just could not get the ball close enough to the hole to give myself good putts.”
Even so, Woods was quick to put the round behind him and start preparing for the next day.
“Hopefully [tomorrow] I can get off to a quick start like I did last year, a hot birdie run, maybe an eagle. … I’ll need a start like that to get myself back into this thing,” he said.
Later that afternoon, Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, echoed Woods’ remarks about Friday’s mediocre outing as well as his aspirations for the next two rounds.
“I don’t think he is playing Zozo [or] Presidents Cup quality of golf at this moment,” LaCava said, “but we’re hoping [his game] turns in that direction over the weekend.’’
Unfortunately for Woods, the following rounds did not fare as he and LaCava had planned. Woods finished five-over-par on Saturday and recorded a dismal six-over-par on Sunday. Adam Scott took home the trophy on Sunday afternoon while Woods finished in 68th place.
In Woods’ 13 PGA visits to Riviera, he has yet to claim the top prize. It is the most starts he has had on a course without a win in his decorated career.
Medill Reports spent the morning walking 18 holes with Woods, and the throng of an estimated 500 fans who followed him, as he progressed through the course in what turned out to be a heartbreaker of a round.