Despite battling allergies — which, trust me, are brutal and absolutely miserable — Tiger Woods hung in there to shoot two-under 70. He had an overall solid day. Sort of ho-hum, actually. He double-bogeyed the 18th, his 9th hole of the round, but like McIlroy, he bounced back on the front nine to jump back to the first page of the leaderboard for the time being [*Update: upon completion of round one, Tiger is T11].
With the afternoon wave still out on the course, Woods is currently tied for eighth, just a shot behind the clusterf**k of guys — Blake Adams, Andres Romero, Aaron Baddeley and Rory Sabbatini are the leaders in the clubhouse — at one-under.
“I think the golf course was playing quick today,” said Tiger in his post-round presser. “The fairways were starting to chase a little bit. The greens were somewhat receptive. They’re making ball marks, but the thing is they’re running out. These greens have got to be near 14 (on the stimpmeter).
“It’s a hell of a test out there, really. And then the wind is picking up a little bit. Hopefully we don’t get too much rain, and this golf course plays quick the entire week.”
The greens were already fast on Monday, and unlike the last several years, there hasn’t been any rain recently. The forecast calls for rain starting this evening and more showers and a few thunderstorms in the morning (woot — weather delays!), which will soften the course and playing conditions.
“I think I was just consistent all day,” said Woods. “I didn’t do anything great and I didn’t do anything poorly, I was just very consistent. And I think with the golf course being the way it’s set up, you just have to be that way. You have to drive the ball well, you have to position it on these greens, and you’re going to have to make some tough putts. There’s no two ways around it. These greens are at a pace where it’s hard to get the ball close, and you’re going to have to have some tough ones out there.
“I think over the next three days, hopefully I can play as well as I did today.”
Woods said he made some swing tweaks in the two weeks between the Players Championship and here.
“I think I was able to make some nice changes over the break here and work on some of the things that I think I needed to work on, and I’m very pleased with that. As I said at The Players, I did it in streaks. I was hitting the ball and hitting it well in streaks and just need to get a little more consistency out of it. Today was certainly one of those days where I was very consistent.”
In his last three events he’s finished T40, MC, T40, which is arguably one of the worst stretches of his career. You know, so, naturally, he was DONE. While it was disconcerting, I’d never count him out at Memorial (proof: he’s in my Fantasy Golf lineup). If there’s anywhere for him to find his groove, it’s a place where he has fond memories and success — he’s won four times at Muirfield Village.
Hope he keeps it up. It’s a lot more pleasant for everyone when he’s playing well. Same goes for Rory…in a different way, of course.
Advice for Tiger, though: Take care of those allergies. Allegra or Claritin, whatever works. He sounded awful and looked miserable (even if he wasn’t feeling that way about his game) because he was feeling so crappy, which I can empathize with.
“Well, thank God I had a big towel,” said Woods when asked if his allergies bothered him on the course.
No question they did.
[*Ed. note: This was previously published in the post about Rory McIlroy, but I decided to split them up.]
(Photo by Getty Images/Andy Lyons)