Woods shot a two-under-par 69 on Thursday and a 74 on Friday at the Genesis Invitational. Every stroke was research for the bigger ambitions that still linger.|
The world’s 1,294th-ranked golfer arrived at the tee box on Thursday afternoon. The No. 2 player, Rory McIlroy, was there, too. So was Justin Thomas, ranked seventh.
But the 47-year-old man wedged between William Nygard and Marcos Montenegro in the Official World Golf Ranking still believed, however fantastically, that he could win the Genesis Invitational, a tournament he had never conquered.
For all of his scars, that man, Tiger Woods, had barely changed his approach to the mental battleground that so often separates the sports elite from the rest. His birthday in December did not openly blunt the competitiveness that raged so intensely for so long that it helped define an entire professional sport; his disappearing acts from golf did not extinguish his hopes of upending his rivals’ ambitions.