McIlroy defends Woods at Riviera

G-Mac shines as Rory and Tiger prove hit and miss

"That really put things in perspective", Woods, 42, told the news media on Tuesday, before referring to his other playing partner in the opening two rounds as "a great kid".

His five birdies included a burst of three in a row that began with a near hole-in-one at the par-three sixth - his 15th of the day.

You might see Woods teeing off on #10, Spieth putting out on #9, Johnson teeing off on #3 and McIlroy putting out on #18 all at the same time. "I've got to clean up my card — too many bogeys out there".

Then, he lost his tee shot to the right, hit out of a greenside bunker past the flag and onto the fringe, and had to work for bogey. "But I fought back". Watson was at 10-under 203, one shot ahead of UCLA alum Patrick Cantlay, who holed a 55-foot birdie putt on his last hole for a 69.

"The game speed is ramped up just a little bit, " Woods said.

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Woods bogeyed his next hole and birdied the one after that.

Sam Saunders was one of the players yet to complete his second round and he was on seven under with McDowell and fellow American Cantlay after 15 holes of his second round.

Saunders played bogey-free over his final 16 holes on a firm, hard course at Riviera for a 4-under 67 to share the lead with Tom Hoge and Dominic Bozzelli among the early starters Thursday.

This is only the 17th time in his 23-year PGA Tour career as a professional and 18th time worldwide that Woods has failed to reach the weekend. This is his 47th start on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy continued: "You've got a six-foot putt and they'll shout, "It doesn't break as much as you think", just stuff like that - stuff they don't have to say". A bogey on the fourth hole was offset by a bird on the ninth. "I am progressing. I'm starting to get a feel for tournament golf again". A common malady for golfers of every shape, size and stature, bringing his game to the course is a far more hard task. "Hit a lot of fairways, so I was able to give myself some good looks". He tied for 23rd in his first, last month's Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla. He is a grandson of the late golfing legend Arnold Palmer, who won the tournament in 1963, 1966 and 1967, when it was played on the Rancho Park Golf Course and known as the Los Angeles Open. "But it was fun because I was very in control of what I was doing out there". "That's been nice, something I haven't done in years". Today I just played good golf.

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