Tiger: I’m Only Six Back
By Merf under The Masters

Oh my! Not the most intimidating quote in the world. It pretty much sums up the state of Tiger Woods’ game. The four-time green jacket winner is happily in 24th place, on a day when Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros shot 65, and Y.E. Yang also flirted with 7-under. But as we all know, it’s a process.

Tiger made birdie on No. 6 to turn in a bogey-free 35, and overcame bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to stay in red figures. As ESPN’s Jason Sobel pointed out in a tweet, Woods was right in line with his 2011 stats, with a driving accuracy of 42.9 percent; while hitting 67.7 percent of his greens and needing 30 putts. For the season, those numbers sit at 47.6%/67.6%/29.2.

“I’m right there in the ballgame,” Woods said. “I’m only six back.”

With 48 players at par or better, and the weather cooperating, I’m inclined to believe the scoring conditions will be similar to what we saw last year, when Phil Mickelson won at 16-under, and the contenders sat between 11- and 13-under.

Is Tiger slow-playing us in the first round of the Masters, like he did when he won four times? I believe we’ll have our answer by tomorrow, but I’m thinking he’s gonna have to pull out three 68s from thin air to have a chance. And I think today was his chance to get one of those 68s. Instead, he played like he has all year.

How about you guys? Is Tiger Woods a contender? Or a pretender?

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)