Tiger Woods Apologizes for Prank Gone Wrong at Genesis Invitational
Golf superstar Tiger Woods made his long-awaited return to the official PGA Tour at the Genesis Invitational on Friday. The event, which benefits his foundation, was held at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The 15-time major winner was the center of attention as always, but not all the focus was on his play.
Woods found himself embroiled in yet another controversy after he was caught on camera handing his playing partner, Justin Thomas, a tampon as a joke during Thursday’s opening round. The prank was quickly criticized on social media as being sexist, leading to a day of criticism and controversy.
Woods had appeared poised to play only a ceremonial role on the weekend after he bogeyed three of his last four holes for a three-over 74. Despite the late collapse, Woods managed to land right on the projected cut line of one-over, which was not expected to move even though 14 players were set to complete their rounds on Saturday after play was halted due to darkness.
Woods headed into Saturday’s third round 11 strokes back of clubhouse leader Max Homa, who fired a three-under 68 to reach the midway point on 10-under. He was trailed by Spaniard Jon Rahm (68) and Americans Keith Mitchell (69) and Lee Hodges (66), all one stroke behind.
Collin Morikawa, the 2021 British Open winner, was two strokes back and in the clubhouse with a score of 68. Patrick Cantlay, the 2021 FedEx Cup champion, was three off the pace, while four-time major winner Rory McIlroy was four strokes behind with a score of 69.
Making his first non-major PGA Tour start since October 2020, Woods will need to quickly refocus after a day of controversy and criticism over the tampon prank. In response to the criticism, Woods apologized, saying that the joke was supposed to be all fun and games and that it was not intended to offend anyone.
As always, the world will be watching to see how Woods performs in the remainder of the tournament, especially given his long absence from the sport and the controversy surrounding his return.