PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — If nothing else, Tiger Woods kept his sense of humor. “Well, that was a lot of shots,” he said. “I hit the ball quite a few times, especially on the greens, and it was a long day.”
That was a succinct description for Woods’ Saturday struggles at Riviera. He four-putted 13, three-putted 14, putted off the green on 17 and generally made a mess of his opening nine before coasting home to a 5-over 76. He looked weary, both during and after the round. Battling on the golf course can take a mental toll.
But fatigue can sometimes lead to honesty, and the 44-year-old was more forthright than usual about his health struggles after the round. He admitted that his hosting duties were “a lot” this week. He said he wished he could have another crack at his back nine on Thursday, when things started to slip. He pointed out that without a series of “dumb things,” he’d be a whole lot closer to tournament relevance.
He was also more honest than usual about his body. “I feel stiff,” he said, “but I have weeks like that, especially in the cold mornings like it was the other day. I don’t quite move as well, and that’s just kind of how it’s going to go.”
Is he relieved not to be playing next week at WGC-Mexico?
“Yeah, I am.”
Woods has said that he wants to make the U.S. Olympic team, which would require being among the top four Americans in the world rankings. Still, he’s not willing to force any extra events onto his schedule to make that happen.
“The idea is to peak around Augusta time, yes. I just felt I wasn’t going to be ready for next week, a little run-down and playing at altitude as well isn’t going to help that, so taking the week off.”