Tiger Woods marked his first competitive appearance in West Virginia this morning by carding a one-over-par 71 in benign conditions at the Greenbrier Classic.
Beginning his round on the 10th tee, the former world No1 carded consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes before a bogey on Old White’s challenging 13th, a 494-yard par-4, compromised his early momentum.
Chastened, the 14-time major winner recorded a trio of regulation pars before carving his tee shot into the water hazard flanking the right edge of the 17th fairway. The result, an affront to his impeccable scoring instincts, was a double-bogey seven and front-nine of 37 shots.
Unsettled, perhaps, by the sudden violence with which his swing had misfired, Woods negotiated his second nine in a decidedly tentative 34 shots.
Currently in a tie for 93rd place, the 36-year-old will likely begin tomorrow’s second round on the very edge of contention, eight shots adrift of the overnight lead (held exclusively by Vijay Singh at time of publication) and in considerable danger of missing the halfway cut.
“I just didn’t quite have my game and didn’t have the speed on the greens, either,” he later volunteered by way of explanation. “So it was quite a big adjustment from playing my last three events for the green speeds; I struggled with it a little bit.”
Explanations and excuses aside, it’s a weakness he doesn’t intend showcasing for a second day in succession.
“Definitely some work, I’m going to do a little bit of work. Definitely need to change my reads. We’re going to go out there, hit a few putts and get that organized.”
Other scores: JB Holmes, Andres Romero, Webb Simpson (65); Charley Hoffman, KJ Choi (66); Steve Stricker (69); Jim Furyk (71).