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Tiger Woods on opening 24-foot, 8-inch eagle: ‘Ironic, isn’t it?’

LOS ANGELES – From headcovers to shoes to jerseys, PGA Tour players have found unique ways to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant in his old hometown.

Tiger Woods did, too.

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On his opening hole Thursday at Riviera, Woods hit an 8-iron into the par-5 green that left him 24 feet, 8 inches away for eagle.

Yes, 24 feet, 8 inches – Bryant’s old jersey numbers – and Woods buried the eagle putt.

“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” said Woods, after a 2-under 69 put him five shots off the lead. “I didn’t know about the putt being that long.”

The eighth hole at Riviera is also a memorial to Bryant, with a yellow-and-purple flag and “Mamba”-adorned sign. How did Woods play the hole? By stuffing it to 3 feet, for a birdie.

“No matter what we do, I think for a while we’re going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world,” Woods said. “Very ironic that it happened to have those numbers on those holes and those exact measurements.”