As he starts the Genesis Invitational in 72nd place, Tiger Woods manages his back pain.

At the Genesis Invitational's first round par-4 18th, Woods hosed his 176-yard approach into the right tree line after splitting the fairway. Discouraged, Woods slipped the club behind his back and hit a 109-yard green approach from 71 yards. Woods stopped before striking his third shot from the tree line to 15 feet, resulting in a two-putt bogey.

"My back spasmed on it," Woods expressed in reference to his shank on the 18th hole. "For the past three holes, it has been demonstrating spasms, and it has simply locked up on me. The hosel was provided initially, and the individual did not move or rotate.

From where he was standing, when was the last time he hit a shank? "It's been a while," he stated and emphasized. It's been quite some time, for sure. Not from the position I was in, other than attempting to hit flop shots and other sorts of strange strokes around the greens, I was not successful.

Since Woods withdrew from last year's Masters in the third round and had ankle surgery soon after, this was his first start on the PGA Tour since the Genesis. Resuming play in December, Woods finished 18th out of 20 competitors in the Hero World Challenge. The following week, he competed again, this time as a team with son Charlie, at the PNC Championship.

Woods said his intention to play about one PGA Tour tournament each month after finishing the Hero, and he is off to a good start at The Genesis. With his speed (averaging 304.1 yards off the tee) and the apparent health of his ankle, Woods appeared to be in good shape on Thursday.

However, his natural competitive nature may have prevented him from achieving a low score on a day when Riviera was reachable (Cantlay held the early lead in the clubhouse with a score of 7 under 64). In the first round, Woods drew eight fairways, hit ten greens, and needed thirty putts.

"It's impossible to prepare for," Woods said of returning to competition after a long break. "I rely on expertise and having done this a long time, but nevertheless having the adrenaline rush makes the ball travel longer, speed up, and yardages different than at home. Different is part of competitive golf."

Additionally, any players who are within ten strokes of the lead after the second round will be considered for the 36-hole cut at The Genesis, a Signature Event. The top 50 players and ties will be considered for the cut.

Woods started Thursday with a 4-foot birdie from just right of the green on the par-5 first, but he had bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3. He birdied both front nine par 3s, a 15-footer at No. 4 and a 14-footer at No. 6, then made three straight pars to finish 1-under 34.

At the short par-4 10th, the Los Angeles native's tee shot into the back greenside bunker 30 feet from the hole, forcing him to play horizontally. It was disheartening when he chipped to 8 feet but missed. Woods, 48, responded with a 15-foot birdie at the par-5 11th from outside the green, but he bogeyed 12 and 15 to finish over par.

At the 17th hole, which was a par-5 and measured 609 yards, Woods made it to the green in two strokes and then two-putted for a birdie, bringing his score back to even par. But his problem on 18 ruined what would have been an otherwise successful end to the day at Riviera.

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