Tiger Woods said his plans would depend on how well he heals from the Genesis Invitational week. But, he did not completely rule out the prospect of adding a start before the Masters.
The best performance of the 12 rounds Woods has played since returning from his most recent injury setback was a 4-under 67 on Saturday at a Riviera that was getting firmer and firmer. He will start the final round in a tie for 26th place, 12 strokes behind the leader Jon Rahm.
Woods expressed optimism that he will play well tomorrow.”We’ll go ahead and reassess everything to see where we are and how I recover after a complete tournament,” he continued.
Since missing the cut at St. Andrews’ Open Championship in July, Woods has played in a competitive event in the Genesis. He participated in just nine rounds last year.
Woods bogeyed three of his final four holes on Friday before cutting Riviera. He had over 24 hours to rest in between rounds, and despite shooting three birdies and an eagle to only one bogey, he was sharper than he had all week. He placed 18th or better in the third round in terms of strokes gained when putting, approaching the green, and off the tee.
Matthias Schwab, who was in the same Saturday group as Woods, remarked that “his game was pretty strong. I was pleasantly surprised.”
The 47-year-old Woods has displayed plenty of power despite his physical limitations and the unusually calm conditions this week, posting ball-speed statistics near 180 mph — considerably above the Tour average. After nearly making an ace in the second round and then going close to an albatross on the par-5 first hole, his 10th of the day on Saturday, his iron play has also been excellent.
Woods has been adamant that he won’t ever play a full schedule on the Tour again, but he does plan to compete in the four majors and possibly a few additional tournaments throughout the year. The Players Championship, the Tour’s marquee competition, will take place in three weeks. Moreover, he has won seven times at Bay Hill, the Tour’s subsequent sanctioned event, which starts on March 2.
When questioned about maybe adding a tournament between now and the Masters, Woods responded, “I don’t know about that,” stating that he was “a little bit on the sore side” and was instead concentrating on his recovery for Sunday’s final round.
He hoped that his body would still feel fine later on in the following week. Right now, healing time will be enjoyable.
On the ninth hole, Woods outdrove his partner and handed Thomas a tampon. The two men laughed and hugged as they went off the tee after Thomas immediately disposed of the tampon.
“As I already stated, I apologize if I have in any way, shape, or form upset anyone. It was not the planned outcome. We constantly pull practical jokes on one another, so I don’t think this came out that way on social media, but amongst us, it was different,” he said.
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