Woods Drops McIlroy In Favour Of Stricker For Genesis Opening Two Rounds

For the past two years, Rory McIlroy has received a text message from Genesis Invitational tournament host, Tiger Woods.

On both occasions Woods was asking McIlroy if he didn’t mind playing the opening two rounds in Woods’ company.

This was very much the scenario in 2018 and again in 2019, and with Justin Thomas making up the Riviera Country Club three-ball each year.

McIlroy had been asked a year ago what he thought in receiving the text request from Woods.

For the pasttwo years the opening two rounds of the Genesis Invitatonal has featured Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in the same group. (Photo – Getty)

“I swear, playing in front of all that, he (Tiger) gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said smiling.

“Like, it’s two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that that goes on around. So, whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn’t become such a novelty that he’s back out playing again, because it’s tiring. I need a couple Advil just to…I’ve got a headache after all that.”

But not this year and with Woods dropping McIlroy in favour of 2020 USA Ryder Cup Captain, Steve Stricker.

It makes sense Woods should not text McIlroy and instead send a text to Stricker given Woods is 100% certain to be a USA Ryder Cup vice-captain or could very well qualify automatically for Stricker’s team.  It will present the pair two days to talk all they like about Whistling Straits and Thomas will be a very interested listener.

In the circumstances one would think McIlroy won’t mind.

The PGA Tour has released details of four feature groups for this week’s $9.3m event.

Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Steve Stricker

  • Returning to the site of his PGA TOUR debut in 1992, tournament host Woods makes his second attempt at a record-breaking 83rd PGA TOUR win; The Genesis Invitational is the PGA TOUR event Woods has made the most starts without a win (13)
  • The FedExCup leader and a two-time winner this season, Thomas led the 2019 Genesis Invitational by four strokes entering the final round before falling to J.B. Holmes
  • Stricker, winner of the 2010 Genesis Invitational, will make his 500th career start on the PGA TOUR

J.B. Holmes, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose

  • Defending champion Holmes won his fifth career PGA TOUR title at The Genesis Invitational in 2019 and enters the week with three consecutive top-20s
  • Rahm has finished in the top 10 in each of his three starts during the 2019-20 season (10th/Sentry Tournament of Champions, 2nd/Farmers Insurance Open, T9/Waste Management Phoenix Open)
  • A 10-time PGA TOUR winner, Rose is making his first start at The Genesis Invitational since 2017 (T4)

Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy

  • Cantlay, who played collegiately at nearby UCLA, has two top-fives in 2019-20 (P2/Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, 4th/Sentry Tournament of Champions)
  • In 12 starts at The Genesis Invitational, Johnson has one win (2017) and seven additional top-10s
  • The defending FedExCup champion and top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, McIlroy is making his fourth start at Riviera Country Club in search of his second victory of the season (World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions)

Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson

  • Koepka, who won three times last season, is making his first start on TOUR since withdrawing from THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES due to injury
  • With a third-place result at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Mickelson became the third player in PGA TOUR history with at least one top-10 in 30 consecutive seasons on TOUR
  • Three-time Genesis Invitational winner Watson has finished in the top 10 in each of his last two starts, accomplishing the feat for the first time since winning the 2018 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and a tie for fifth at the 2018 Masters Tournament

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