Roars for Tiger at Riviera
Woods makes charge in Round 3 before play is called at Genesis Open
February 16, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' approach from 249 yards sets up eagle at Genesis Open
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The fans at Riviera Country Club offered to put up floodlights.
They needn’t have bothered. Tiger Woods was already lighting the place up.
Woods injected some serious energy into the delayed start of the third round at the Genesis Open when he opened with a birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie run to send the crowd into frenzy.
By the time darkness halted play, the 80-time PGA TOUR winner had negotiated seven holes in five under par and moved from a tie for 52nd to a tie for 14th at six under.
He didn’t want it to end. No one else did either.
While still a long way adrift of Justin Thomas – who leads at 13 under through two holes of Round 3 – Woods now has the opportunity to make waves on what promises to be a marathon Sunday.
Starting on the drivable par-4 10th hole, Woods knocked in a 5-foot birdie after a nice chip.
After a brilliant drive down the par-5 11th, the two-time FedExCup champion then hit an exquisite 250-yard 3-wood to inside 10 feet and made eagle.
When a 21-foot birdie dropped in on the next hole they could hear the roars reverberating around the Hollywood sign.
But Woods wasn’t done yet as he buried another from 14 feet – despite the distortion of crowd containment breaks – to create more buzz in Los Angeles than the Oscars.
“It was definitely crazy. Gives you even more respect for what he’s able to do knowing he deals with that every time he tees it up,” playing partner Peter Malnati said.
Malnati had never played with Woods before and caught himself in awe.
Before today he had thought the roars for his two aces on TOUR were good.
“They were nothing like the combination of excitement you hear with Tiger,” he laughed.
“Obviously, the atmosphere was already incredible and then to see that quality of golf was really cool.
“It is pretty impressive. It is kind of fun to watch, he’s driving the ball beautifully and he’s as good as he’s ever been with his irons. That’s really cool and amazing to see it up close, so in control, it’s nice.”
Woods had seemingly ruled himself out of contention with his 70-71 opening.
But now, despite still having a big hole to climb out of, he retained some optimism of finally breaking through at Riviera.
“I've got some work to do,” Woods admits.
“I've got to get up and down at 17. No. 18's not going to be playing short with these temperatures and then I've got to get one, and then two is going to be back into the fan again. I've got to do some damage to those holes.
“It's going to be in the 40s and it's supposed to be blowing close to 20 miles an hour. So it's going to be a tough day for all of us and one that we're going to have to fight through.”
TOUR officials will not re-pair groups between rounds, instead hoping to get the two final rounds finished in one day for a regulation finish.
For Woods that means 28 and 1/3 holes as he faces a delicate pitch shot and likely putt to make par on 17, his eighth hole of the round.
“It's going to be a long one. Up early and start working on it and staying loose and staying ready,” he added.
“It's just going to be a lot of walking. And last couple days, it's definitely testing the body.”
Tiger Woods drains birdie putt on No. 12 at Genesis Open