Tiger Woods withdraws, Jordan Spieth disqualified, Patrick Cantlay pulls away at Genesis Invitational

AP photo by Ryan Sun / Tiger Woods is driven off the course after withdrawing during the second round of the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational on Friday at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
AP photo by Ryan Sun / Tiger Woods is driven off the course after withdrawing during the second round of the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational on Friday at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods returned to the PGA Tour and lasted just 24 holes, withdrawing Friday from the Genesis Invitational with flu-like symptoms and dehydration after hitting his tee shot on the seventh hole during the second round at Riviera Country Club.

Rob McNamara, his longtime associate and vice president of TGR Ventures, said Woods felt flu symptoms Thursday night that worsened when he woke up.

"He had a little bit of a fever and was better during the warmup, but then when he got out there and was walking and playing, he started feeling dizzy," McNamara told a PGA Tour official. "Ultimately, the doctors are saying he's got potentially some type of flu and that he was dehydrated. He's been treated with an IV bag and he's doing much, much better, and he'll be released on his own here soon."

Woods left Riviera about two hours after he withdrew, sitting in the front seat of a red SUV as it departed.

He was 1 over par for the round — 2 over for the tournament — and projected just outside the cut when he asked for a cart and was driven off the course by a rules official. The 15-time major champion had been walking slowly and looked drained of energy while playing the front nine.

"He obviously wasn't himself, just didn't look right. Saw that before the round started," said Gary Woodland, who played in the same group with Woods along with Justin Thomas. "Obviously, everything's better with him there, and for him for his first tournament back and he couldn't come out and finish the way he wanted to, that sucks for all of us."

Woodland said he noticed Woods being quieter than normal, though they all were trying to make sure they were among the top 50 to make the cut.

"I feel bad for him. He wasn't right," Woodland said. "He definitely was trying to fight through it, and I hope he's all right."

The 48-year-old Woods still managed to create quite a spectacle at Riviera. An ambulance and a ladder truck from the Los Angeles Fire Department were parked outside the clubhouse, presumably waiting for Woods. PGA Tour officials said IV fluid bags were needed, but there were none at Riviera, so the paramedics had to deliver them.

Photographers and other members of the media crowded near the ambulance next to a six-foot high hedge raised cameras and mobile phones when there was movement, except the trucks were leaving without Woods.

On the golf course, there was a steady stream of spectators headed for the exit. Thomas and Woodland approached the ninth green surrounded by only a few hundred fans.

Woods had not played an official event since the Masters last April, withdrawing in the middle of the rain-delayed third round. He played the unofficial Hero World Challenge in December against a 20-man field with no cut, and the 36-hole PNC Championship with his son, Charlie.

Woods now has played six official tournaments since returning from a February 2021 car crash in Los Angeles that shattered bones in his right leg. He has pulled out of three of them, with his Genesis Invitational exit following those at the 2022 PGA Championship after 54 holes and the 2023 Masters when he didn't return Sunday morning to complete the third round.

Woods, whose 82 PGA Tour career victories are tied with Sam Snead for the most ever, had said he hoped to play one tournament a month through the major season. He had said Thursday he was experiencing back spasms, which led to his shank on the final hole when he started the tournament with a 72.

McNamara said Friday that Woods' back wasn't a factor in his withdrawal.

Along with playing, Woods is the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational that is run by his TGR foundation. His week in Los Angeles began with plenty of hype — the launch of his new apparel line with TaylorMade Golf and his first PGA Tour start of the year — but ended with disappointment for not only Woods but the fans who came to see him.

  photo  AP photo by Ryan Sun / Luke List hits from a bunker on the first hole at Riviera Country Club during the second round of the Genesis Invitational on Friday in Los Angeles.

As for the tournament itself, Woods was being driven away just about the time Patrick Cantlay was running away — from the rest of the field.

Cantlay began with an eagle and never let anyone close to him the rest of the round, shooting a 6-under-par 65 to build a five-shot lead at 13-under 129 over Luke List (69), Australia's Jason Day (69) and Canada's Mackenzie Hughes (65), with another Canadian player, Corey Conners (65) another shot back in fifth.

List is one of two Baylor School graduates in the event, and both headed to the weekend in good positions, with Harris English (69) tied for 11th at 4 under.

Day and List played in the morning and set the target at 8 under, and it didn't take long for Cantlay to catch them. He hit his approach on the par-5 opening hole to 15 feet behind the flag, then holed it for his eagle.

Cantlay has been making just about every shot and giving himself loads of chances. He knows Riviera as well as any PGA Tour course, having gone to UCLA. He probably has played it some 70 times at this point when considering both college and pro rounds.

"Putting great and leaving the golf ball in the right spot, which is really key around here," Cantlay said. "It's a golf course I'm really comfortable on, and it's in the best shape I've ever seen it.

"It's the best putting surfaces I've ever seen around this place. I like when the greens are really fast. They're as fast as I've ever seen them, and I've made a bunch."

Woods wasn't the only surprising departure. Jordan Spieth, who played with Cantlay, had a rough finish that left him 10 shots behind, only to sign an incorrect scorecard and get disqualified.

Spieth owned up to his mistake via social media, writing: "Today, I signed for an incorrect scorecard and stepped out of the scoring area, after thinking I went through all procedures to make sure it was correct. Rules are rules, and I take full responsibility."

Spieth, who won an NCAA title with the Texas Longhorns at Riviera, said he loves the course as much as any on the PGA Tour and "it hurts to not have a run at the weekend."

That left the tournament with a 51-man field for the weekend. This signature event has a 36-hole cut to the top 50 and ties and anyone within 10 shots, but the latter wasn't an issue because of Cantlay. The cut came at 1-over 143, eliminating Thomas and Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Wyndham Clark among others.

The big excitement belonged to Will Zalatoris, who had a 70 that looked ordinary only if the final number was the only number considered. Zalatoris had five bogeys and four birdies, along with a hole-in-one on No. 14. This ace came with a car, not only for Zalatoris but for caddie Joel Stock.

"Most of the time when I shoot 1 under, it's like two birdies and a bogey," Zalatoris said. "Having a hole-in-one thrown in there and a bunch of crazy bogeys is not exactly how we would have drawn it up, but still, we'll take it around this course."

Zalatoris was joined by Xander Schauffele (66) and Tom Hoge (70) in sixth place at 6 under.

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