Tiger Woods winds up back in pack

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A birdie from three feet opened Tiger Woods’s round in the Open this Thursday.

Nothing else seemed to go right that day for the former number 1 golfer in the world.

In the last 54 days, this was Woods’s first competitive shot strikeout in a PGA Tour. He missed sinking three putts that were only within 5 feet, while also hitting six shots out of bunkers. He also shot a layup on a par-5 into a hazard, and proceeded to hit a 2-over-par 73 at Corde Valle Golf Club, making it a very unhappy first round for the first Fall event of the season.

If he hopes to make a strong comeback after not making the cut in the PGA Championship, Woods needs to make a solid performance for the second round. If he does not succeed in that, it would be his first time since the start of his professional career that he would miss weekend play on the Tour.

Woods described that putting round as “probably one of the worst” he had ever had. He said he could not imagine putting the ball any worse than he did that day.

After the round, he was six shots down, behind Brendan Steele, Briny Baird, Garrett Willis, and Matt Bettencourt. Woods is tied for 86th, trailing even Patrick Cantlay, his playing partner who was ranked the Number 1 amateur player in the world, with 69 shots. The cut-off included the top 70 in the list as well as ties.

Woods, with 27 putts, commented that he had a difficult time making his strokes. He contemplated putting some lead tape to see if he could get a little more mass, as it had always reportedly worked for him in the past.

He described his stroke as getting worse from his trying to adjust it.

“And then I started losing confidence in it,” he said, explaining that it happened because he was not hitting his line. It was then a downward spiral from there.

He admitted that the rest of the game did not turn out too bad, as he had both good and bad shots; he said he was very happy with the shots he did most of the day, but that he just got nothing from the putting round.

“I just missed putts,” he said.

Meanwhile, Steele did not miss a single shot on the inward nine, and finished up with five birdies, to end his game at 67.

The Valero Texas Open winner in April commented that the ball did not carry very far during that cold and rainy morning. “It was a little rough to get going early,” he said, but added that as soon as he made the turn, he started loosening up and managed to get good weather conditions on the back nine.

UCLA sophomore Cantlay tried to act nonchalant about his having gotten four shots better than Woods.

He said that it was just the first round, so it did not technically mean anything.

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