August 15, 2018, 21:40

Rory McIlroy looking forward to playing with Tiger Woods at Riviera

Rory McIlroy looking forward to playing with Tiger Woods at Riviera

Rory McIlroy has insisted he will “relish and embrace” playing alongside Tiger Woods over the first two days of this week’s Genesis Open in California.

McIlroy, Woods and reigning PGA champion Justin Thomas have been grouped together for the opening two rounds at Riviera Country Club, and they will be the headline act in our full live coverage from 7pm on Thursday on Sky Sports Golf.

“I wouldn’t have minded a nice quiet couple of days on Thursday and Friday, but any time you have a chance to play in a group like that you relish it and embrace it,” said McIlroy, who last played with Woods competitively in the final round of the Masters in 2015.

“I would rather be in this group than not, and whenever you get a chance to play alongside one of your heroes it’s always nice.”

McIlroy also revealed he will be using a new putter this week having endured a “wobble” on the greens at Pebble Beach, where he missed the cut by two shots.

After opening with a confident 68 at Spyglass Hill, he was five under for the tournament with five holes of his second round remaining at Monterey Peninsula on day two before he took five putts from the fringe after driving the par-four fifth.

Further bogeys at seven and eight added up to a disappointing 74, and a level-par 72 at Pebble Beach on Saturday was not enough to get him into the final 18 holes and prompted him to visit his manufacturers to try out new putters.

McIlroy admitted his putting on Friday had affected his confidence, although he insisted the surfaces were more to blame than his technique.

“I had a bit of wobble on the greens on Friday, but I didn’t put that down to anything more than just surfaces weren’t ideal and I let it get into my head a little bit,” McIlroy added.

“The great thing about golf, every week you start everyone’s level again and you get to go again and work on things. I still view the start of the season to be quite good for me in terms of what I’ve done and the progress I’ve made on my game.

“Obviously, results-wise last week at least wasn’t what I wanted, but I still saw a lot of good stuff in there.”

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