PACIFIC PALISADES (CNS) - Tiger Woods shot a 2-under-par 69 Thursday in his first round in a PGA Tour event since July to be among 29 golfers tied for 27th in The Genesis Invitational at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
Woods had five birdies, including on the first hole and each of the final three, and three bogeys. He is five strokes behind co-leaders Max Homa and Keith Mitchell. Pre-tournament favorite Jon Rahm is in third, one stroke off the lead.
Woods described his round as having "ebbs and flows."
"It was nice that I had this unbelievable pairing, two great guys, two great friends," said Woods, who was paired with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. "The people were obviously very supportive, they were just cheering all of us on, which is great. Just made this whole tournament better.
"I happened to actually hit some good shots finally and made a couple putts. Even though I had a little mishap at 10, I was able to fight back and get it going. It was a nice finish."
The Genesis Invitational is Woods' fourth PGA Tour event since he suffered multiple fractures to his right leg and ankle when the SUV he was driving rolled over on a downhill slope of northbound Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes on Feb. 23, 2021, two days after the conclusion of that year's Genesis Invitational.
Woods on Thursday said he was "a little bit sore" following the round, and that when he returned to his hotel, "it's just icing and treatment and icing and treatment, just hit repeat throughout the whole night."
Woods parred the second and third holes following his birdie on the first hole, bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole, had three consecutive pars, birdied the par-4 eighth hole and parred the ninth hole to finish the front nine at 1- under 34.
Woods bogeyed the 10th and 12 holes, both par 4s, and had three consecutive pars before finishing his round with three consecutive birdies.
"I was trying to calm myself down all day, trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing out here because I haven't played," Woods said. "I had to try and figure out what the chess match is going to be. Misses, angles, wind, these are all things that have come second nature to a lot of these guys. I haven't really done this in a while."
In 2022, Woods finished 47th in the Masters, was forced to withdraw from the PGA Championship after three rounds and missed the cut at the Open Championship.
Thursday's round came 844 days since Woods' last competitive round in a non-major, the 2020 Zozo Championship.
Woods has won 82 times on the PGA Tour, tying Sam Snead for the most in history. Woods has not won a tournament since the 2019 Zozo Championship. His last top 10 finish on the PGA Tour was tying for ninth in the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open.
This is the 15th time Woods has played in what is now The Genesis Invitational, including missing the cut as a 16-year-old amateur in his first appearance in 1992. The 14 starts are his most in a PGA Tour event without a victory. The closest he came to winning was in 1998, when he lost in a playoff to Billy Mayfair. The next year he was among three golfers tied for second, two strokes behind Ernie Els.