RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Genesis Invitational

'Oh, definitely, I shanked it': Tiger Woods didn't hide from shocking moment at Riviera

February 15, 2024

Michael Owens

LOS ANGELES — It was an otherwise quiet opening round of the Genesis Invitational for tournament host Tiger Woods. Then came the rather loud shank on the par-4 18th hole at Riviera.

Two sounds stood out—the cold, hard clank of Woods' iron and the collective gasp from the large crowd standing right of the 18th fairway. It was akin to watching an all-time great performer—say, Taylor Swift—tumble down on stage during their encore. People were grabbing each other's arms and asking if they really saw what they just saw. Jaws were on the floor. The greatest to ever do it clanked one. He did the unspeakable.

While us mere mortals would have the benefit of crawling in a hole and hiding, Woods was asked about the s-word in the very first question he received after the round.

"Oh, definitely, I shanked it," Woods said.

The shot traveled a total of 71 yards, hitting a tree and coming to rest in the native area, 109 yards from the flag. What Woods faced next was the hardest shot in golf—the shot after a shank. Making matters more difficult was the fact he had to hit it through two trees, and the fact he had to use the same club he hit the shank with, his 8-iron.

"I had a small window there, 96 front, 27 total and tried to hit a punch hook 8-iron after I just shanked an 8-iron," he said. "I said, all right, the next shot's supposed to be the harder shot and yes, it was because I'm having to hit a little punch hook through a little gap there and I pulled it off, which is good."

It was good, his ball running up the fairway and onto the green about 15 feet from the cup. Woods made an aggressive stroke on his par putt, eyeing a Houdini-like escape, but it raced by a few feet and he cleaned it up for a face-saving bogey.

Woods, who finished with a one-over 72, said he experienced back spasms late in his round that may have factored in to the shank seen 'round the world.

"Well, my back was spasming the last couple holes and it was locking up," he said. "I came down and it didn't move and I presented hosel first and shanked it."