At long last, the world gets to see Tiger Woods back in a competitive setting. No one knew the type of play we would see from Tiger Woods, but after Thursday’s first round, I think that the majority walked away feeling optimistic about Woods’ chances to return to playing at a high-level on the PGA Tour.
Big Cat opened up the round clicking on all cylinder, but the round snagged as one of his trouble clubs, the driver, started to act up. Through 8 holes, Tiger was at 4-under, but then the left misses came from the driver and his hot start was washed away. Tiger played the final 10 holes 5-over par, closing the round with double bogeys on two of his final three holes for a 1-over par 73 and in 17th place out of 18 players.
The report card
Here’s a look at what I thought of each aspect of his game in his first round back.
You gotta keep the ball in play to score. Tiger hit only 6/13 of Albany’s mega-wide fairways. His misses were to the left and all of them came after a missed 3w on the 6th hole that went right. A 2-way miss is no bueno.
Outside of one poor iron shot from the middle of the 16th fairway, Tiger’s iron play was superb. He hit a ton of shots close and gave himself ample birdie and eagle opportunities.
Short game: B
Tiger struggled with a couple of very difficult shots, but as a whole, he was very good. The best part was that we didn’t see any signs of his dreaded chipping yips.
As usual, Tiger’s putting was rock solid. He made a lot of mid-range putts and only missed one short putt that he should of canned. Tiger is one of the best putters to ever play, so this came as no surprise.
I am a little scared of the 2-way miss potential with Tiger’s current swing but the big story of today’s round was rust. Competitive golf is another beast, and a lot of times when you are under pressure for the first time in awhile your ball tends to find the worst places on the course. I think that Tiger played like a guy who shot a 68, but the rust led to the 73 he posted.
There are 17 other players playing in the Bahamas and J.B. Holmes is your leader after a scintillating 8-under 64. The round could have been much lower as Holmes routinely knocked it close but his putter wasn’t quite as hot. Right behind Holmes is red-hot Hideki Matsuyama who fired a 7-under 65 and Dustin Johnson at 6-under. Watch Matsuyama look for his 4th win in 5 starts and Tiger’s return on Golf Channel the rest of the weekend.
A round you never want to end: Shoreacres
Here’s a hole-by-hole tour of my favorite golf course, Shoreacres. The low-key club is often overlooked when people discuss the best golf courses in the country. Seth Raynor’s routing at the northern suburban site is masterful. Read more here.