Golf: No signs yet of genesis in Woods' revival

Tiger Woods lining up a putt on the 13th green during the second round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Friday. The former world No. 1 missed the cut after shooting a five-over 76, but will play next week's Honda Classic at PGA National
Tiger Woods lining up a putt on the 13th green during the second round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Friday. The former world No. 1 missed the cut after shooting a five-over 76, but will play next week's Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Tiger Woods admitted he was still shaking off the rust after his return to Riviera Country Club lasted just two days.

The 14-time Major champion missed the Genesis Open cut on Friday after a five-over 76 for total of six-over 148.

"I really didn't play well today," he said of his eight bogeys, which included three in a row (from the 11th) on the back nine.

"I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens and consequently never made a run.

"I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way. I've just got to play more tournaments."

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and American Patrick Cantlay shared the lead after the second round was suspended owing to darkness, with a handful of players still on the course.

McDowell opened his five-under par 66 with three straight birdies. He followed that with back-to-back bogeys, but grabbed four more birdies to surge up the leaderboard and ended with a five-under 66.

  • TIGER WOODS' DECLINE

  • 2008

    LAST MAJOR WIN: US Open at Torrey Pines, after play-off against Rocco Mediate.

  • 2013

    LAST MONEY LIST TITLE: US$8,553,439, in a season where he also savoured his last victory.

  • 2015

    Last time he was in top 100. He is now No. 550.

Cantlay, who shared the overnight lead with Tony Finau, had five birdies in his two-under 69.

He launched a string of three straight birdies with a near hole-in-one at the par-three sixth, his 15th of the day.

Compatriot Sam Saunders was seven under with three to play when play was suspended.

Former 2010 US Open winner McDowell has just one top-10 finish worldwide in the past 18 months.

Without a victory since 2015, he has plummeted to 219th in the world and started the season with three straight missed cuts.

He said his game for the past several months had been much better than those results indicated.

"All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence," McDowell said.

"I'm really excited to be going into the weekend on the business end of things."

Woods has no such weekend excitement to look forward to. The California native grew up playing Riviera, and it was where he played his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in 1992.

But he has never won in 11 prior appearances, and had not teed it up on the course in 12 years.

It was always going to be a tough proposition in the second tournament of his latest comeback bid - three weeks after he finished tied for 23rd at Torrey Pines.

This week, the missed fairways were joined by plenty of missed greens and putts.

"My wedge game is fine," Woods said. "But my normal iron shots that I've always dialled in for much of my entire career, it's just not there."

A total of 23 players are within five strokes of the lead, including four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who both played alongside Woods, and carded rounds of 71 and 69 respectively.

McIlroy feels Woods can contend again. "He's very close," the Ulsterman said. "Give him a little bit of time. He's still figuring a few things out with equipment but he's close. There's no bigger golf nerd in the world than Tiger Woods."

Woods, 42, will play in next week's Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, marking the first time in three years he has entered tournaments on successive weeks.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

GENESIS OPEN

Day 4: StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 2am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on , with the headline 'No signs yet of genesis in Woods' revival'. Print Edition | Subscribe