Tiger Woods will be around for the weekend at the 2023 Genesis Invitational. Turning in a 3-over 74 on Friday was how Woods followed up his opening round of 2-under 69 from Thursday to remain inside the top 65 at 1 over. The 15-time major champion found himself on the projected cut line for much of the afternoon, but as conditions toughened the likelihood of Woods making the cut became certain.
“I did not putt well today, I blocked a lot of putts early and this is probably the highest score I could have shot today,” said Woods. “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, I just hit bad putts and obviously had a very bad finish, too.”
Woods began his round with a pair of good birdie looks on holes Nos. 10-11. Hitting his approach shots inside 8 feet on both holes, the 47-year-old was unable to convert either chance as a cold putter matched the chilly California temperatures early.
Bogeys ensued on the following two holes as Woods dropped to even par and just inside the projected cut line. Woods bounced back with a near ace on the par-3 14th, but the real momentum arrived on the 15th when his par putt from just inside 10 feet found the bottom of the cup.
Woods would miss another birdie bid from inside 6 feet on the 16th but fully clawed his way back to 2 under with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 17th. The putter began to cooperate in the middle stretch of his back nine, but unfortunately for Woods, this was met with subpar approach play.
Having just rattled off six straight pars, Woods hit his tee shot at the famous par-3 6th below the bunker located in the middle of the green. After putting his second into the bunker, Woods converted a slippery 5-foot bogey putt to remain in red figures at 1 under.
“I was actually trying to hit the ball — my putt — over to where J.T. [Justin Thomas] was and the hill caught it more than I thought it would and ended up in a bunker,” said Woods. “I mean, I was trying to give myself a chance at making par and, at worst, bogey. So realistically I had two bad calls on the wind on 6 and 9 and end up costing me two shots there.”
Another bogey occurred on the par-4 8th to drop Woods to even par and another on his finishing hole put him at 1 over for the week. Late mistakes jeopardized his place in the field for the second half of this tournament, but as the difficulty of Riviera increased on Friday, Woods was ultimately able to find himself a weekend tee time.