On a day that everyone and their mother went low at St. Andrews, Tiger Woods decided to take a different route. Woods finished his first round of The Open Championship with a 4-over 76, the worst round of his career at The Open. So that begs the question, where’d Tiger Woods go?
Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that he shot one of his best rounds in over two years? What went wrong from then and Thursday at St. Andrews? Needless to say, it was brutal to watch Woods hack it around the Old Course in his opening round. In fact, it was down right disrespectful to Old Tom Morris, who was probably rolling over in his grave.
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The hype was real surrounding Big Cat as he headed into his first round. It’s a course he won two of his three Open Championships at and from his demeanor at press conferences earlier in the week, he seemed confident, but that wasn’t the case.
Nothing went right for Tiger and it started on the first hole when he hit a terrible wedge shot into the burn. His day would continue to go downhill from there. His irons were terrible, he couldn’t hit a green in regulation to save his life, and it was even uglier with the flat stick.
Woods was 10 for 18 in greens in regulation, one of the worst showings out of all the golfers in the field. This is surprising because he set himself nicely on most holes, hitting 14 of 16 fairways. Part of the reason could be due to the fact that he was hitting iron off almost every tee box, giving up plenty of yardage.
"“I’m so far back and the leaderboard is so bunched that in order for me to get in there by Sunday, I’m going to have to have the conditions tough and then obviously put together some really solid rounds,” Woods said."
After carding five bogeys in his first 11 holes, Woods played decent golf for the rest of the way and even find a birdie on the 14th hole as he limped across the finish line. Unfortunately, he needed more than one birdie because he sits 11 shots off leader Dustin Johnson, who holds the clubhouse lead at 7-under.
It’s hard to say what was worse, Tiger’s 80 at Chambers Bay or his performance on Thursday at The Home of Golf. Regardless, Woods has been less than stellar in his last two majors and if he can’t muster up some magic on Friday, then he’s going to be packing his bags early for his second consecutive major. In his last five major championship rounds, Big Cat is 21 over par. That’s not a typo.
Eldrick needs to start finding some positives in his game and it all starts on the first hole. After making a mess of it today, it just led to more frustration for him which led to more bogeys. People couldn’t stop talking about how solid Tiger looked on the driving range prior to the hole, but that didn’t translate on the course.
"“I had a great warm-up. I was shaping it well warming-up but didn’t take it to the golf course. That’s just the way it works out at time. My best warm-up I’ve ever had in my career was in Germany. I hit the 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300-yard markers but started off bogey, double bogey. That’s the way it goes.”"
The door was open for low scores on Thursday and he simply couldn’t capitalize. If Woods couldn’t get things done with today’s conditions, it could get even worse on Friday with severe weather in the forecast. It’s becoming hard to watch what was once the greatest golfer struggle like he is and one can only ask, “Where’d you go, Tiger?”