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Tiger Woods defies critics, logic and his back on day one

By: Golf Shake | Thu 17 Jul 2014

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

TIGER WOODS is back!  If there were any doubts, he blew them away with a round of 69 in the first round of The Open at Hoylake that almost no other player could have achieved.

Looking for his first major title since the 2008 US Open, Woods arrived in England seriously undercooked. Since returned from back surgery he had played just two competitive rounds, missing the cut in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional. But he said he was ready, and he wouldn't have been here unless he felt that he could win.


But he got off to a terrible start, with bogeys at the first and second. And the 14-time major champion did well not to let another one go at the third. He was hitting fairways, but he couldn't hit a green in regulation, and needed a birdie, and needed it quickly, to stop the bleeding. It came at the fifth, a par five that was playing as one of the easiest holes on the course. He then ground out four pars to reach the turn in 36. It wasn't what he had in mind.

Before the tournament got under way, Woods had confidently said that only first place would do, but that looked a long way off. Indeed, he looked like a man who heading for a quick exit.

But we should never doubt Woods. On a glorious summer's day, he turned things around in style on the back nine, despite a number of wayward shots.

He parred the 10th, but then moved into top gear with birdies at the 11th, 12th and 13th. A wild drive into rough cost him a shot at the 14th, but Woods bounced straight back with yet another birdie at the 15th. His fifth in six holes came at the 16th before parring the last two holes. Having stood at two over par after two holes, he finished the day on three under and will feel that he is perfectly placed to improve his position on day two.

It wasn't the prettiest round of golf you will ever see, but it was typical Woods, getting the best he possibly could on a day when he wasn't at his best.

"I figured out how to manage my way around the golf course after an awful start, but got back to even par on the turn," he said. "I know what it's like to win here but the golf course is completely different to when I won in 2006, it's much lusher. The weather forecast will change things over the next few days though.

"It feels great to be competing again at the elite level. The more rounds I play I'm getting sharper and stronger."

Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]


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