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

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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.

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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.”

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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.”