Tiger Woods returned to the golf course Thursday for his first competitive round of golf since the British Open in July, and the winner of 15 majors did not disappoint.
Woods shot a 2-under 69 on Thursday at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angelesending the day just five strokes off the lead.
Woods finished his round strongly, sinking birdie putts on the final three holes, and will enter the second round tied with 16 other golfers at 2-under-par.
TIGER WOODS NOT READY TO BE DUBBED A CEREMONIAL GOLFER: ‘I’M PLAYING TO WIN’
«I didn’t want to be the idiot host who missed it right in front of everyone after I birdie-birdieed,» Woods said of his birdie putt at number 18, according to ESPN. «It was a great round.»
Max Homa and Keith Mitchell sit atop the leaderboard at 5-under, with Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar and Collin Morikawa not far behind.
in his first competitive round in seven monthsWoods drove the ball well off the tee, topping 330 yards on his drive three times.
«There’s nothing like getting to game time, just getting the butterflies and trying to calm all of that down,» Woods said. «Even though it’s cold here, [the ball] it went even further than we expected. I had to redial all of that.»
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Woods hasn’t won a tournament since 2019 and has struggled to regain strength in his legs following his horrific car accident in February 2021.
But the golf legend hasn’t lost his competitive fire.
«I have not come to the idea of being [a ceremonial golfer]. If I’m playing, I’m playing to win.» Woods told the media on Tuesday. «I know the players have played, and they’re ambassadors of the game and trying to grow the game. I can’t think of that as a competitor. If I’m playing in the event, I’m going to try and beat you. I’m there to get a W.
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«Slashing is a big thing. If I enter the event, it’s always to get a W. There will come a time when my body won’t let me do that anymore, and that’s probably sooner rather than later. But wrapping my head around that transition and being an ambassador role and just playing and just trying to be here with the guys? No, that’s just not in my DNA.»
Woods will tee off at 10:24 am ET on Friday along with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report