McIlroy was not at Torrey Pines last month but Woods’ official return to the Tour was marked by huge crowds, commotion and wild scenes and with a great many of the Farmers Insurance Open fans following the superstar American not being born when Woods dominated golf.
McIlroy and Woods have played together in six PGA Tour events that includes 11 rounds between 2012 and last over the final round of the 2015 Masters.
In those 11 rounds Woods posted a better score in six rounds, two rounds were even and McIlroy finished in front in the last three they competed together including fourth in the 2015 Masters.
“I would not have minded a nice quiet couple of days, Thursday, Friday, but no, no, it’s totally fine playing with Tiger,” McIlroy said smiling.
“There is always a lot of movement around Tiger so you just try and get the honor as quick as you can and try to keep it so not everyone’s moving when you’re — but it’s fine, it’s good, it’s good fun.
Tiger Woods will parter Rory McIlroy at the Genesis Open.
I’m obviously looking forward to the next couple of days.
“I would rather be in this group than not.
“So, like anytime you have a chance to play in a group like that, you sort of relish it and embrace it. I’m obviously looking forward to the next couple of days.
McIlroy has contested the $7.2m Genesis-backed event just once before in his career and it was a 2016 showing he would rather forget.
McIlroy had been well-placed heading to the final day but slipped to a T20th finish on the back of a last day 75.
However, McIlroy will be looking for a better putting display than his poor showing last week on debut at Pebble Beach nothing 38 putts on day two and over the four rounds averaging 30.5 putts.
It was no surprise then that McIlroy has spent a lot of time on the practice putting green and also packed a new putter in his bag.
“Yes, a new putter and just trying to get it to basically launch properly,” he said.
“I have quite not a lot of loft in my putter, especially for these greens. You can get little indentations where the ball will go into the ground first and then start to – so just to give it a little bit more launch.
“It’s a very, very minor change, but something that the one of the equipment guys suggested, so it makes sense.”
The appearance of McIlroy and the return of Woods to competition was over-shadowed Wednesday with news fellow Tour pro Bill Haas had been involved in a horrific accident late on Tuesday that killed the 71-old driver that Haas was a passenger.
The accident happened near 6.30pm local time and just minutes from this week’s course.
McIlroy was delighted to be playing with Woods again.
Haas along with a female driver of a BMW that the Ferrari crashed into were taken to hospital and with the six-time Tour winning Haas later being released.
Also involved in the crash was Hollywood star Luke Wilson, and star of Legally Blonde, whose car was also clipped by the speeding out-of-control Ferrari.
Wilson, 46 had been driving to pick-up his daughter from school.
Haas, who suffered slight leg injuries, flew home to North Carolina and advised Tour officials Wednesday of his official withdrawal, and naturally saddened at the death of Mark Gibello, who Haas was residing with this week.
His place has been taken by fellow American Joe Dahmen.
World No 1 and defending champ, Dustin Johnson was asked about the news following Wednesday’s Pro-Am.
“I heard the news at breakfast and my first concern was that Bill (Haas) was okay,” said Johnson.