Tiger Woods has singled out good friend Rory McIlroy for praise ahead of Woods return to competition at this week’s Genesis Invitational in suburban Santa Monica.
Woods, and as tournament host, is returning to a regular PGA Tour event for the first time since the October 2020 ZOZO Championship that was staged to the north of Los Angeles.
In that time, McIlroy has won six times, including five victories on the PGA Tour and more-recently a third success at the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Though they have something in common heading into this week’s $US20m event and that is neither has won the Genesis Invitational that was first staged in 1926 as the LA Open.
It was when Woods was asked if he felt LIV Golf was more of a threat this year than in 2022 when he made reference to McIlroy, and who he will play alongside for the opening two rounds on the golf course that has long been home to so many Hollywood movie stars.
“How can I — the past year since, if you go back to this week at Genesis last year to where it’s at now, we all have to say it’s been very turbulent,” said Woods.
“We never would have expected the game of golf to be in this situation, but it is, that’s the reality, and I was alluding to trying to create the best product. Obviously, they’re a competitive organization trying to create their best product they possibly can, and we’re trying to create the best product that we think is the future of golf, how it should be played. How do we do that?
“We’re still working on that. We have so many of the top players aligned, and how do we support our world partners and the DP World Tour, we need to have our top players understand we need to play around the world and again create the best product possible.
“It’s been an ebb and flow, it really has. And it’s been difficult, there’s no lie. You’ve seen our ambassador, Rory, go through it. It’s been tough on him, but he’s been exceptional. To be able to go through all that, I’ve been with him on all those conference calls and side meetings, and for him to go out there and play and win, it’s been incredible”
Woods, McIlroy and Justin Thomas will tee-off in the afternoon half of the draw on day one – 9.04pm Irish time
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