Tiger Woods looks on during the first round of the Genesis Invitational. Alamy Stock Photo

Back spasm causes Tiger to shank final hole, McIlroy endures nightmare finish

Meanwhile, Seamus Power had a day to forget.

TIGER WOODS revealed a back spasm had caused him to shank the final hole of his return to a first PGA Tour event of 2024 at the Genesis Invitational in California.

Woods, 48, is still adapting to ankle fusion surgery, having undergone treatment in April last year after withdrawing from the Masters during the third round and he did not compete again until the Hero World Challenge in December.

The 15-time major champion finished Thursday’s opening round at the Riviera Country Club on one-over par after shanking his second shot on the 18th from the fairway over into the trees on the right.

Rory McIlroy also endured a nightmare finish to his opening round. He was three-under after ten holes and two-under when he stood on the 15th tee, but dropped five shots in his next two holes. A double bogey on the par-four 15th was followed by a disastrous triple-bogey on the par-three 16th, where he three-putted from inside eight feet.

McIlroy did birdie the 17th, but gave that shot back with a bogey on the last to finish with a 74. Seamus Power is also battling to make the cut, he is on the same score as McIlroy in a tie for 64th.

rory-mcilroy-of-northern-ireland-watches-his-second-shot-on-the-11th-hole-during-the-first-round-of-the-genesis-invitational-golf-tournament-at-riviera-country-club-thursday-feb-15-2024-in-the Rory McIlroy. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Three bogeys on the  bounce between the 7th and 9th holes, left Power three-over for his front nine, before his back nine featured a birdie on the 11th and a dropped shot on the 13th.

Patrick Cantlay was the early leader with his round of 64, one shot ahead of Australians Cameron Davis and Jason Day, alongside Luke List. Jordan Spieth was among the group two adrift at five-under.

Woods eventually sunk a two-putt bogey to make a five on the last hole, and afterwards revealed he would need some treatment to get himself back out on the course again on Friday.

“My back spasmed on it,” Woods said in his post-round interview with the Golf Channel when asked about the shank on the 18th hole.

“It’s been spasming the last three holes, and it just locked up on me. Didn’t move, didn’t rotate, and present hosel first.”

Woods, who previously said he expects to participate in one event per month this year, added: “We have got some treatment ahead of us and some work to do, to be ready for tomorrow.

“But that’s just part of the deal, and (I) look forward to the challenge.”

Former world number one Woods hit eight fairways, 10 of 18 greens, and took 30 putts in the opening round.

“My round was good and a little bit indifferent,” said Woods, who had opened with an up-and-down birdie on the par-five first.

“I struggled with the speed of the greens, even though I made a few.. and was stressing out on the short game, I had maybe like five pars today.”

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