Tiger Woods began his second PGA Tour event of the season on Thursday, firing a one-over 72 at the end of a first round featuring some wayward drives at the Genesis Open.

The 14-time major champion struggled badly off the tee at Torrey Pines last month and his driver gave him further issues at the Riviera Country Club.

Woods had made his Tour debut at this event as a wide-eyed 16-year-old amateur back in 1992 and he may wish he could rediscover some of that carefree teen spirit after another day spent battling with his game for large parts.

Starting at the 10th alongside Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, Woods finished his round with five birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey at the par-five 11th.

That hole saw Woods' ball from a wild drive become lodged in a tree, while further poor shots off the tee at 12 and 15 blighted his outward nine.

It was a similar story after the turn as he lost ground following a poor start to the fifth and an equally sub-standard approach to the seventh.

Woods hit just 57 per cent of fairways and made only 39 per cent of greens in regulation, but it was not all doom and gloom as he scrambled well and took advantage of his birdie opportunities. 

Reigning US PGA champion Thomas led the group with a two-under 69, ending with two birdies from his last four holes, and McIlroy shot an even-par 71 - with an eagle on the par-five first the highlight.

Standing five shots behind the leaders when he finished his first round, Woods will tee it up with McIlroy and Thomas again on Friday.