Tiger Woods commits to play next week in Honda Classic

by Leon Thompson February 17, 2018, 9:21
Tiger Woods commits to play next week in Honda Classic

The feel-good journey that is Tiger Woods' comeback has hit its first pothole.

It wasn't almost as stress-free as his opening five-under 66, but Patrick Cantlay's two-under 69 on Friday was well worth the grind, keeping him in a three-way tie for the lead in the suspended second round at the Genesis Open.

Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue.

But he got little reward for some great ball-striking and apart from the 27-footer he drained for an eagle three at his 10th hole to get back to level-par, the longest putts he holed were a couple of four-footers for par.

He had hopes of improving on that result this week in a tournament run by and benefiting his foundation.

The PGA Tour announced Woods' decision to play in the Honda Classic during Friday evening's play at Riviera near Los Angeles. "Nothing insane, I didn't make a bunch of putts or anything, just kept hitting it to the safe side of the hole and rolling it down there with good pace, and a couple fell at the end".

Following the near ace, Cantlay made back-to-back birdies before dropping a shot on his final hole, giving him a two-under 33 on his final nine, ultimately enough for a share of the lead heading into the weekend on a track he knows well.

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His assessment of his game through two tournaments?

Woods said after Friday's round that his knees were "a bit sore, but that's just all age". "It feels good. I played really well today, hit a lot of good shots, was really solid", Cantlay said.

"He's very close", McElroy said. "I've got to clean up my card - too many bogeys out there". "I thought his short game display [Thursday] was very, very impressive". He hit good shots, but his game was not almost sharp enough to atone for far too many mistakes, especially on a track like Riviera.

McDowell, 38, sat tied for 17th after the first day's play in California on 69, and opened Friday's round with three birdies in a row.

Woods will be back in a few days, though, after committing to play in next week's Honda Classic in Florida.

He said he was waiting to see how his body felt before he committed to play back-to-back tournaments. Certainly if he misses the cut at the Honda, Woods would likely play Tampa. He was introduced to spectators ringing the first tee as the "tournament host", with his company operating the event and his foundation, geared toward educating low-income youth, serving as its beneficiary.

Riviera was the backdrop for Woods's initiation onto the tour, and he expresses devotion to the layout despite never having mastered it.

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