Tiger Woods opens up on battle to stay healthy after 76 at Genesis

February 15, 2020
Tiger Woods admitted that he's feeling "run-down" after shooting 76 on Saturday.

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — If nothing else, Tiger Woods kept his sense of humor. “Well, that was a lot of shots,” he said. “I hit the ball quite a few times, especially on the greens, and it was a long day.”

That was a succinct description for Woods’ Saturday struggles at Riviera. He four-putted 13, three-putted 14, putted off the green on 17 and generally made a mess of his opening nine before coasting home to a 5-over 76. He looked weary, both during and after the round. Battling on the golf course can take a mental toll.

But fatigue can sometimes lead to honesty, and the 44-year-old was more forthright than usual about his health struggles after the round. He admitted that his hosting duties were “a lot” this week. He said he wished he could have another crack at his back nine on Thursday, when things started to slip. He pointed out that without a series of “dumb things,” he’d be a whole lot closer to tournament relevance.

He was also more honest than usual about his body. “I feel stiff,” he said, “but I have weeks like that, especially in the cold mornings like it was the other day. I don’t quite move as well, and that’s just kind of how it’s going to go.”

Is he relieved not to be playing next week at WGC-Mexico?

“Yeah, I am.”

Woods has said that he wants to make the U.S. Olympic team, which would require being among the top four Americans in the world rankings. Still, he’s not willing to force any extra events onto his schedule to make that happen.

“The idea is to peak around Augusta time, yes. I just felt I wasn’t going to be ready for next week, a little run-down and playing at altitude as well isn’t going to help that, so taking the week off.”

Tiger Woods misses a two-foot par putt on No. 13 on Saturday at Riviera.

After Sunday, we don’t know when we’ll see Woods next. The Arnold Palmer Invitational seems like a solid guess — that’s always on his schedule — but he said he didn’t know anything for sure.

“You know, that’s the fun part of trying to figure this whole comeback. How much do I play, when do I play, do I listen to the body or do I fight through it? There are some things I can push and some things I can’t. And so I had a theory this year that I may play about the same amount.

“What did I play, 12 times last year? So that’s kind of my number for this year. I can’t play a lot more than that just because of the physical toll, and I want to stay out here for just a little bit longer.”

For now, Woods has one more round as tournament host at Riviera. “That’s the way golf is; put it in the past and try to learn from what I did right and wrong. Obviously there wasn’t a whole lot I did right today, and I’ll figure it out for tomorrow.”

A nice sentiment. It’s just that it’s a point he’d rather make from contention — not a tie for 63rd.

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