Tiger Woods calls Kobe Bryant's death 'one of the most shocking, tragic days'

Tiger reacts moments after receiving news of Kobe's death (1:42)

Tiger Woods gives his thoughts and reacts to the news of Kobe Bryant's death on Sunday. (1:42)

SAN DIEGO -- While competing in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Sunday, a shaken and subdued Tiger Woods was unaware that Kobe Bryant had died.

The news of Bryant's reported death broke while Woods played the front nine, and his caddie, Joe LaCava, learned of the accident but decided not to tell his boss, waiting until after he walked off the green to share the news.

Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among several people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, California, a source confirmed to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Bryant was 41, and Gianna was 13.

A stunned Woods went to the scoring area to sign his card, spoke briefly with PGA Tour officials, signed a few autographs and did a television interview before meeting with reporters. Golf never came up.

"It's one of the most shocking, tragic days that I've ever been a part of in a very quick span here,'' Woods said.

Starting the day 5 shots out of the lead, Woods shot a final-round 70 to tie for ninth and finish 6 shots back of winner Marc Leishman. It was his best finish at Torrey Pines since he won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013.

As he played, there was some speculation that Woods had been made aware of Bryant's death -- which was not the case.

"I didn't understand why they were yelling, 'Do it for Mamba,' on the back nine," Woods said of a nickname for Bryant. "People yell things all the time, so I was just plodding along, doing my own thing. Then when Joey told me that here. ... It's unbelievable, the reality that he's no longer with us.

"LeBron [James] breaks his [Bryant's scoring] record, and he passes today. I grew up a die-hard Laker fan, always have been my entire life. That's all I remember, and he was part of the most historic franchise in all of the NBA."

Woods then went into detail about the kind of player he remembered Bryant to be.

"What made him so impressive is that he was dominant on the offensive side ... We all know that," Woods said. "But he would lock up on D. He played their best guard and shut 'em down for all 48 minutes. That's what made him so special -- he played both ends of the court. There are maybe two guys, three guys in the entire NBA history that you can say that, that would do that. He was up for that challenge.

"And one of the more impressive things that I've ever witnessed is when he ruptured his Achilles, and he went to the foul line, made his shots. Ultimate toughness, ultimate competitor.''

Woods said he was closer to Bryant when the NBA star was playing and when the golfer had a home in Newport Beach, California.

"I didn't really see him that often," Woods said. "But every now and again, he would reach out, I would reach out. But this is unbelievable."

Woods said he discussed with Bryant how he approached the game.

"We really connected more on the mental side of it, the prep, how much it takes to be prepared,'' he said. "For me, I don't have to react like he does, we can take our time, but you've still got to pay attention to the details, and that's what he did better than probably any other player in NBA history. He paid attention to the details, the little things.

"The amount of hours he spent in the gym in the offseason and during the summers to work on shots and do all the different things, it looked like it came natural to him on the court during game time, but he spent more hours looking at film and trying to figure out what's the best way to become better. That's where he and I really connected because we're very similar.

"He came into the league, and I turned pro [1996] right around the same time, and we had our 20-year run together. It's shocking."

Jason Day said he felt "physically sick" upon hearing the news.

"For this to happen to someone that a lot of people idolize, it makes you feel sick," he said. "There are really no words to describe what happened. I cannot imagine what his wife is going through, what his family is going through."

Tony Finau told reporters that he is "still processing" the sudden death of Bryant.

"To have that happen to one of the greatest ever to play the game of basketball and just, I think, one of the greatest athletes in sports is so tragic," Finau said. "I remember actually wearing his shoes out here in 2016, just giving him props for the Mamba mentality and kind of what he taught a lot of athletes in pursuing your dreams. I think his legacy, for sure, is one of hard work and commitment to your craft. That's Kobe Bryant."