Eerie eagle: Tiger Woods makes unknowing tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

Eerie eagle: Tiger Woods makes unknowing tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant”

Tiger Woods wasted a strong start to sit five shots off the pace after the first round.

He just couldn't quite sustain it.

As I said, ironic having those two numbers.

In the midst of an impressive front nine-he was 4-under par at the turn-Woods birdied the eighth and celebrated by simulating a basketball-like shot back to his caddy.

Woods said he had spent limited time on the practice range due to his commitments as tournament host.

His tee shot at 11 hit a tree, and while he managed to give himself a look at birdie on the par-five hole his 10-foot putt didn't drop. "The ones I did miss today were generally left and obviously didn't hit 'em right".

During his round, Woods had two moments that served as tributes to Kobe Bryant, one intentional, and one that came more or less out of the blue. The first was his eagle putt on the par-5 opening hole, which measured at 24 feet, 8 inches (Bryant's numbers).

Several players sported Bryant-themed gear throughout the day, and the No. 8 hole at Riviera Country Club was transformed to honor Bryant with a Lakers-themed flag pin, too.

"It's ironic, isn't it?"

While the 15-time major victor trails leader Matt Kuchar by seven shots, he caught the eye with a subtle nod to the memory of Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles alongside with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people last month. "I felt like it was just steady golf, a lot of opportunities and I was able to convert on a good number of the opportunities today". And then No. 8, happened to hit one in there close and had a nice little kick in there for birdie.

"No matter what we do, I think for a while we're going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world", Woods said, via the Golf Channel.

Woods entered the second round of the tournament tied for 17th, with Matt Kuchar leading after the first round with a seven-under day.

Kuchar carded a 7-under-par 64 to set the early pace at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

After a tee shot at the 199-yard par-3 sixth green, Woods suffered from a tough three-putt after missing a putt from 9-feet for a par and finished with a bogey.

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