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Tiger Woods Withdraws from Genesis Invitational Friday, After Hitting His Tee Shot on the Seventh Hole

Woods teed up at the seventh hole, hit a decent driver, and then jumped into a cart with a rules official and withdrew

The tables finally turned on Riviera Country Club, and a player delivered a devastating gut punch to the tournament. Unfortunately, it was not a golf shot that laid the course low, and the playing dealing the unexpected damage was Tiger Woods, who withdrew from the tournament Friday afternoon after hitting his tee shot on the seventh hole.

Play continued, and Long Beach's Patrick Cantlay, who learned Riviera as a player on UCLA's golf team, stretched his lead. Much like Joaquin Niemann, now-departed to LIV, did two years ago in his win here, Cantlay is threatening to run off and hide, his two-day total of 12-under putting him five ahead of Jason Day, Luke List, and Mackenzie Hughes.

Cantlay started fast, eagling the first hole, parred the next six, and then put the hammer down with four birdies to close the round. After the round, he said that playing Riviera felt "like a home game," and the greens were "the best putting surfaces I've ever seen." Cantlay is not one of the Tour leaders in any putting category, but Riviera obviously suits him.

Day and List, who went off before 8 AM, might have played a more vulnerable course, but played it much differently. List shot two under, piling up three birdies and no bogeys until a three-putt on the 15th hole. Day rode the Riviera roller coaster, eagling the first hole and swapped four birdie and four bogeys the rest of the way.

Good golf on a difficult course took a back seat to Tiger's story, however. He was a third of the way through his round and stood one shot short of the cut line at the tournament he hosts. He teed up at the seventh hole, hit a decent driver, and then jumped into a cart with a rules official and withdrew.

The official reason was cited first as illness, and then clarified as "flu-like symptoms." Tiger was reportedly suffering from a fever, although none of this was known before his withdrawal. His media company reported that he received intravenous fluids and was much better afterwards.

Tiger is fanatically private. It came as a surprise after yesterday's round when he admitted that a shanked shot on the 18th hole might have been due to back spasms he has begun to suffer in the latter part of his round.

Tiger appeared to be moving even more stiffly today, and he was making visible accommodations to his damaged back and legs. Tiger did not crouch to read his puts, and when he teed up his ball in the seventh hole, he bent over from the waist to place the tee in the ground.

If Tiger is only suffering from the flu which will clear in a few days, that is a much better sign for his plans to play in other tournaments this year than would be a withdrawal due to physical wear and tear after 24 holes of golf.

Playing partner Gary Woodland was asked if Tiger was showing signs of flu during the round. In a moment not-at-all reminiscent of a hostage video, Woodland toed the party line, saying that he did. Asked how he could tell, Woodland offered that he could see that Tiger "obviously wasn't himself, just didn't look right."

Australia's Cam Davis caught Cantlay at nine-under midway through the second round, but ran off five consecutive bogies on the back nine to end the day in a tie for eleventh. There were not a lot of good scores on the course; although Max Homa bettered Cantlay's round by one stroke, shooting a six-under 65 to jump from the wrong side of the cut line into a tie for 11th.

The best shot of the day was made by Will Zalatoris, one-time golf wonderboy making his way back from health issues to star on tour. He used a 7-iron on the 184-yard 14th hole to win himself and his caddie new Genesis cars. The worst stroke of the day was recorded on Jordan Spieth's scorecard, where he wrote the wrong score in for the fourth hole and got disqualified from the tournament.

The cut came today at 1 over par, taking out US Open Champion Wyndham Clark, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Justin Thomas, and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Although the star power is less than it was when the tournament started, Riviera still holds center stage.


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