By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO -- On Wednesday the questions were about Tiger Woods' formerly-ailing Achilles, the one that forced an early exit two weeks ago at the world Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
After Thursday's first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, though, the talk centered on golf -- and with good reason, after Woods' 69 left him in the mix for what would be a seventh title at Bay Hill.
Woods started on the back nine and birdied three of his first seven holes, then made his only bogey of the day at No. 17. The next 11 holes were relatively quiet with a two-putt birdie on his last par 5 the only break in a string of pars.
"It was a day I didn't really do anything great today," said Woods, who hit 11 fairways and 14 greens. "I was just solid all day. I drove the ball well. Hit my irons decent and putted all right. I had two three-putts, but also made a couple bombs out there.
“It's just one of those days where not a lot going on."
One three-putt cost Woods a chance at birdie, the other resulted in a bogey. Both were the result of “bad speed,” he said. At the same time, Woods didn't give himself a lot of opportunities; only four approach shots landed inside 20 feet and he converted just one into a birdie.
"Didn't really hit any balls real close today,' Woods said. "I took something off most of my drives today. I didn't really feel great with my tee shots but I was getting the ball in play. Ball is flying forever. Normal drives go about 310 or something like that. It was kind of nice."
And as for the left Achilles? No problem.
"Not in my mind at all," Woods said. "I'm just out there playing. I'm feeling good. I've been getting treatment. Everything's good. No swelling. If I can just keep it that way, everything will be great."