Tiger Woods apologises for prank on PGA Tour comeback

15-time major winner likely to make the cut at Genesis Invitational

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Tiger Woods was on track to make the cut at the Genesis Invitational on Friday but his return to action at his first official PGA Tour event in nearly eight months was overshadowed by an apology he had to make for a prank gone wrong.

The 15-time major winner found himself in a controversy at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades when he was caught on camera handing playing partner Justin Thomas a tampon as a joke that circulated on social media and criticised as sexist.

Woods, who hosts the tournament that benefits his foundation, had appeared poised to be limited to a ceremonial role on the weekend after he bogeyed three of his last four holes for a three-over 74.

Despite the late collapse, Woods landed right on the projected cut line of one-over, which is not expected to move even though 14 players return early on Saturday to complete their rounds after play was halted due to darkness.

Woods goes into Saturday's third round 11 back of club house leader Max Homa, who fired a three-under 68 to reach the midway point on 10-under, one clear of Spaniard Jon Rahm (68) and Americans Keith Mitchell (69) and Lee Hodges (66).

Controversy erupted after Woods ripped a 323-yard drive, some 10 yards longer than the 29-year-old Thomas. Walking off the tee, Woods discreetly put something in Thomas' hand, which Thomas tossed to the ground when he realised what it was — a tampon, seemingly to remind him that Woods hit it farther.

Woods apologised after his bogey-bogey finish for a 74.

“It was supposed to be all fun and games and obviously it hasn’t turned out that way," Woods said. "If I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way."

Updated: February 18, 2023, 6:19 AM