Tiger Woods more than holds his own off the tee and Rory McIlroy doesn’t like it
For a 47-year-old who hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since July and has had more surgeries than the “Operation” guy, Tiger Woods looked phenomenal off the tee in the opening round of the Genesis Invitational.
Woods hit eight drives over 300 yards on Thursday at Riviera Country Club and was last to hit into the green more times than his playing competitors would have liked.
“I know, I’m going to go work on the range. I put my driver up a click in loft at the start of the week, I might have to turn it back down again. I don’t like him hitting it by me,” Rory McIlroy said.
McIlroy and Justin Thomas formed a power trio with Woods, and the elder statesman more than held his own.
On 11 holes in Round 1, at least one of the players hit a drive in excess of 300 yards. Woods was the longest five of those times. McIlroy was the longest five other times and he and Thomas tied once.
Woods’ longest drive was 338 yards, at the par-4 11th. McIlroy’s was 339 yards, at the par-4 eighth. Thomas’ was 319, at the par-4 15th. Of the measured drives, McIlroy had the best average (315.5 yards), with Woods (311.7) second and Thomas (295.3) third.
Woods, who varied between a high fade and a low cut throughout the day, credited the course setup with his ability to hang with the, relatively speaking, youngsters.
“The way this golf course … is playing right now, you watch Rory and JT and myself, we’re all hitting these little like cheater kind of flighted ones and rolling the ball out there,” Woods said. “I’d have a little harder time if … it was wet and they can bomb it 320, but this golf course is set up where you can kind of scoot it, get it around and I was able to do that all day today.”