But McIlroy offered a positive assessment of Woods, who was making only his second start in a full-field PGA Tour event since returning to action from spinal fusion surgery a year ago.
The Portrush man has a share of the lead at seven-under par with Patrick Cantlay after two rounds at the Genesis Open - a tournament where he's previously failed the weekend on three out of five occasions.
"I bogeyed the two par fives on the back nine, which usually is my bread and butter", McIlroy said. It's tiring. I need a couple Advil just to - I've got a headache after all that.
Having won the LA Open in 2014 and 2016, 54-hole leader Watson is gunning to follow golf great Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as the only players to earn three US Tour wins at the iconic Los Angeles course. "He's obviously not driving it well, he's not hitting the shots that he wants to".
Woods, playing Riviera for the first time since 2006 as he continues his comeback in the wake of spinal fusion surgery last April, started the day one-over, and picked up his first birdie of the day at the third hole, rolling in an 18-footer to a roar of approval from a big gallery. "If I can just clean that up, I can start making my way up the board".
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He was teeing off on the par-3 fourth when he looked down the hill at Woods playing the 18th.
Despite blowing an opportunity at birdie on the short par-5 first hole, the 14-time major victor picked up a birdie at the par-4 third hole. He finished at three-over 74, eight strokes higher than the first round in his five-shot victory a year ago, and tied for 107th. CareerBuilder I think I was top-10 in greens in regulation, I think I was leading greens in regulation and missed the cut.
"You get used to it", the reigning tour Player of the Year, who hopped aboard Woods' private plane for the trip to Riviera, said after Thursday's opener. But my normal iron shots that I've always had dialled in for much of my career, it's just not there.
Woods is well aware of how hard the Honda venue is, but then again, not many of them are easy. "He's still trying to figure things out with his equipment". That deft touch that had secured him weekend tee times last month at Torrey Pines and kept his round on Day 1 at the Genesis Open from becoming ugly, had vanished. He did not mention trouble with his back, and he committed to playing in the Honda Classic in the coming week.