Tiger Woods blamed poor putting for a disappointing 74 on Friday, but looked like a lock to play the weekend when darkness halted play at the Genesis Invitational, his first US PGA Tour start in seven months.
It was a disappointing day for the 15-time major champion, who is teeing it up for the first time since the British Open in July as he continues to wrestle with the serious leg injuries suffered in a February 2021 car accident.
Woods’s one-over-par total of 143 put him one stroke outside the cut line as he walked off the course.
After a tense afternoon that saw the line fluctuate, the day ended with the projected cut line including those at one-over and few players left on the course who could shift it when the round resumed on Saturday morning.
Woods, who was 11 shots off the lead held by American Max Homa, had five bogeys, including two to cap his round at the eighth and ninth.
But he said his troubles on the Riviera Country Club greens began much earlier.
“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.
“(I) probably should have shot five or six better than this, easily.
“I could have easily got off to a very hot start and I did not, and then middle part of the round I could have turned it around a little bit and I did not,” added Woods, who had a birdie chance from within 10 feet at his opening hole, the 10th, and one from less than five feet at the 11th.
After failing to convert those he dropped a shot at the 12th, where he was unable to salvage par from a greenside bunker.
He bogeyed 13, where he needed three shots to reach the green and missed a five-footer to save par.
Birdies at 14 and 17 moved him back to even for the day, but he ran into trouble coming home.
At the par-three sixth his tee shot rolled back to the front of the sloped green, 71 feet from the pin. His putt up was pulled into the pot bunker in the middle of the green and he wound up with a bogey.
He was in a fairway bunker at the eight, his shot out barely advancing him and his third shot rolling through the green.
At the ninth, he missed the fairway and came up in a greenside bunker. His shot out ran through the green and his chip to remain on the projected cut line lipped out.
Everything a moving target
At the sixth, Woods said, he opted not to chip because there was “a chance it could actually come back to the front part of the green.
“The hill caught it more than I thought it would and ended up in a bunker,” he said. “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 six and nine and end up costing me two shots there.”
Woods, who reiterated this week that he’s hoping to play all four major championships and a few other tournaments this year as his leg issues continue to limit him, said his injury history means he makes constant adjustments to his mechanics.
“I’ve had so many surgeries that the ankle just keeps changing, the leg keeps changing,” he said. “The shoes keep changing, the socks keep changing. Everything’s a moving target. How much I’m on my feet, how much I’m not, how active I am, how not active, the muscles that are on, they’re off. It’s a moving target all the time.”