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Woods on young Morikawa: ‘Very bright career ahead of him’

SAN DIEGO – It was a milestone day for Tiger Woods.

He didn’t win his 83rd PGA Tour victory and eclipse Sam Snead on the all-time list. His first-round 69 on the North Course wasn’t even close to his best at the Farmers Insurance Open and his current tie for 21st is not exactly a reason to celebrate.

Tiger Woods wasn’t able to defend his Masters title but he provided plenty of Sunday excitement. We tracked him at Augusta National.

Thursday’s round was noteworthy because it marked the first time Woods was paired with a player in a Tour event who wasn’t born when he made his pro debut in 1996.

“Well, he’s a lot younger than I am,” Woods said with a smile, when asked about playing with Collin Morikawa, a 22-year-old Tour winner. “It was great to be out there with him. He hits it solid. I mean, he’s not a real big guy, but hits the ball very solid and has a very, very bright career ahead of him.”

Farmers Insurance Open: Full-field Scores | Full coverage

Morikawa had a chance to meet Woods last fall in Japan and said it only took him a few moments to get back into his normal routine at Torrey Pines.

“I had to tell myself to just focus on golf after that first hole because I could just focus on Tiger and watch him the entire day and realize I forgot how to play golf,” said Morikawa, who finished a stroke behind Woods with a 2-under 70. “That’s what I’m out here to do, I’m out here to win.”