Eerie eagle: Tiger Woods makes unknowing tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

Carrie Guzman
February 15, 2020

McIlroy managed just one birdie in the first round at Riviera but also recorded two eagles in the space of three holes around the turn to make up for a sluggish start.

A flawless drive on the par-five 17th was followed by a fairway wood to the heart of the green from 289 yards and McIlroy nonchalantly holed the eagle putt from 35 feet to move into red figures. Woods said after his round, via the Golf Channel.

It was a disappointing back nine after so much good over the first nine holes.

The 82-time victor on the PGA Tour has hoisted many a piece of silverware in such ceremonies, but this weekend he seems fated to again play the part of the man handing over the prize and not the one receiving it. Woods is far off the pace at Riviera Country Club after a second-round 73, a middling performance that ensured only that he'll have two more rounds to help kill time before presiding over Sunday's closing ceremony. "Made a couple loose swings and made a couple good saves on the back nine for par, but just wasn't able to get any birdies on the back nine". "A lot of good shots on the front nine".

Thursday marked the first time Woods played since he learned of the death of National Basketball Association legend Kobe Bryant - who died last month in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.

Tiger Woods carded a 2-under par 69 and performed a subtle tribute to late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant during the first round of the 2020 Genesis Open.

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"You know, no matter what we do, I think for a while we're going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, and especially here in SoCal (southern California) and the entire sports world".

In a scorching start, the former world No.1 also birdied the fifth and the par-four eighth hole, where the flag and signage were in the yellow and purple livery of the Lakers. "I was not sharp today", the reigning Masters champion said.

His birdie at the eighth took him to four under as he went out in 31, but the 44-year-old was wayward off the tee on the back nine and came home in 38 to end with a two-under 69 to trail leader Matt Kuchar by five shots.

For the first time since 2004, Woods shot a front nine of 4 under or better, and it was only the second time he shot under par over holes one through nine in his past eight attempts. "Like I said, very ironic that I happened to have those numbers on those holes and those exact measurements".

Woods is the host of the tournament, which this year was given elevated status, making it like the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Jack Nicklaus' Memorial. With one more win, Woods would break his current tie with Sam Snead for most PGA Tour wins in history.

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