“I’m right where I need to be” – Tiger Woods pleased with a mixed opening round at the Masters

Tiger Woods produced flashes of brilliance, moments of frustration and signs of rust as he made a remarkable return to action at the 86th Masters.

Woods played his first top-level tournament since hosting the same event in November 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, returning an opening game of 1-under par 71 in test conditions at Augusta National.

The 15-time Major winner carded three birdies and two bogeys to be just three shots behind clubhouse leader Cameron Smith, the Players Championship winner put in eight birdies between double bogeys on the first and 18th.

“I didn’t have a very good warm up at all, I hit it horribly,” Woods told ESPN. “But as the lap built up I was able to get into the red, made two silly mistakes at eight but fought my way back to be in the red on the day where I’m exactly where I need to be .”

Woods admitted he “saved” his body during his limited pre-tournament training following the serious injuries sustained in his car accident last year, adding: “I came here as a test run and I was able to play 27 holes and I felt me good.

“The whole idea was to keep pushing but always bounce back. That’s the hard part every night. I did that, my team was amazing. I figured once the adrenaline kicks in and I get fired up, I should be able to handle my business.”

A 30-minute delay due to inclement weather meant Woods started his first round at 11:04 a.m. local time (4:04 p.m. BST), coincidentally at the same time he teeed off on day one in 2019.

Woods won his 15th major title, 3,954 days since winning his previous one, when he defeated Rocco Mediate in a play-off for the 2008 US Open, despite a double stress fracture and knee injury leading to season-ending surgery led.

The emotional victory came two years after he said, “I’m done” to Jack Nicklaus during the Champions’ pre-tournament dinner, after which he flew straight to London to see the adviser, who recommended he undergo spinal fusion surgery. which turned out to be career-saving.

This year it was the serious leg injuries he sustained in a car accident in February last year that had seriously jeopardized his participation in the Masters, but Woods had once again defied chances to take his place in the field, insisting that he believed he could win a sixth green jacket.

After fulfilling his honor starter duties alongside Gary Player and Tom Watson, Nicklaus had expressed doubts, saying: “Tiger, I’m sure he will be very competitive this week.

“I don’t know if he can win or not. He hasn’t competed in a long time.”

Woods holed for par on the first from 10 feet and, after lipping out on the fifth, hit an excellent drive two feet on the next to set up a tap-in birdie.

The 46-year-old bogeyed the eighth par-5 after taking four to come down from 50 yards from the green, but saved the par on the next after a dragged drive into the trees and an approach that rolled back off the green and encouraged a one-on “F*** off” scream from the five-time Masters champion.

A two-putt birdie on the par-5 13th briefly put Woods back in the red, only for him to promptly bogey the next despite a brilliant escape from the pines after a terrible drive.

Woods, unable to fully crouch to read putts, still holed from 30 feet for a birdie on the 16th and saved brilliant par on the last after a drawn drive that hit a tree and left him 270 yards to the pin.

Former champion Danny Willett was a shot away from the lead after an opening 69, while defending champion Hideki Matsuyama carded a 72.

England’s Paul Casey retired before the start of the game with a back injury that also forced him out of last month’s WGC-Dell Technologies matchplay.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/us-masters/i-am-right-where-i-need-to-be-tiger-woods-content-with-mixed-opening-round-at-the-masters-41531993.html “I’m right where I need to be” – Tiger Woods pleased with a mixed opening round at the Masters

Fry Electronics Team

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