I had to double check my eyes when I first glanced at the leaderboard on Thursday afternoon and saw that Tiger Woods had posted a four-under 66 — his lowest competitive score since March 2014 — in the opening round at the Old White TPC. Coming off the highest 36-hole total (80-76) of his professional career a few weeks ago at the U.S. Open, Woods finally put all the pieces of his game together for perhaps the first time this season.
Despite his poor form as of late, Tiger has continued to insist that he was “close” to getting back into form.
“My feels were telling me that I wasn’t that far off,” said Woods following the opening round of the Greenbrier Classic. “I was proving it to myself time and time again, away from a tournament site and on the range, that my feel in my hands and my body weren’t far off. It was just the matter of getting into the rhythm and the flow of it and I’ve found that…
“I felt like I wasn’t very far away. I know people think I’m crazy for saying that, but I just felt like I wasn’t that far. I just had to make a couple little tweaks, and I felt like I pulled that off.”
Woods has shot as many rounds in the 60s as he has in the 80s in 2015 — three times each. It was also his lowest score in an opening round since September 2013. (Yep, really!) In his past seven starts, his best score in the first round was a 73.
Woods has struggled tremendously off the tee recently, but he managed to find 10 of 14 fairways on Thursday morning, which was definitely a key to scoring well.
“Overall, if you drive the ball well here, you’re going to probably have at least seven shots with 9-iron or below into the greens, and you’re going to have to capitalize on that,” Woods said. “So far I’m one of those guys who did.”
Woods, who teed off on no. 10, rolled in seven birdies en route to shooting 66. However, it perhaps could have been even better. He made a costly mistake on no. 6, his 15th hole of the day, and posted a double-bogey after getting stuck in the greenside bunker, but he managed to bounce back with three straight birdies to close his round.
“I played so much better than being 1-under par at the time, after making a stupid double-bogey at 6,” he said, referring to his solid recovery and finish. “I was hitting the ball too well, giving myself so many opportunities, capitalizing on hardly anything, but felt like if we could get it back to 3 would be great, and I happened to pull off a hat trick coming in.”
Now, the question will be is whether he can string two straight solid rounds together — or even three or four! I mean, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Woods trails first-round leader Scott Langley by four shots.