Woods wastes a good driving day at Hero World ChallengeTiger fired a 73, sits near bottom of the field after Thursday in Nassau
November 29, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods interview after Round 1 of Hero
NASSAU, Bahamas — The bad news for Tiger Woods after Thursday’s first round of his Hero World Challenge? He failed to take advantage of a terrific day off the tee, posting a 1-over 73 that has him near the bottom of the 18-man leaderboard.
The good news? The cold he’s been battling since last week’s match in Las Vegas against Phil Mickelson is subsiding.
“At least I’m just not coughing anymore — which is nice,” Woods said Thursday.
Getting back to full strength may be a lot easier that getting back into contention in the next three days. Woods finds himself eight strokes off the lead shared by Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay and will be in the first twosome (with Hideki Matsuyama) out in Friday’s second round at 11:15 a.m. ET. Matsuyama is last in the field at 2 over, with Woods and Xander Schauffele tied for 16th at 1 over.
On Thursday, it was a day of wasted opportunities for Tiger, especially with the way he was hitting his driver. He missed just one of 13 fairways but his iron play was not crisp, and his short game also was lacking. He bogeyed two of his first five holes, bounced back with consecutive birdies, but then suffered a triple-bogey at the par-3 12th. A poor chip shot from near the water hazard on his second shot came up short, rolled back down a hill and into the water.
“I had a little patch right behind the golf ball and I tried to toe it in there in trying to make sure I actually hit it long,” Tiger explained. “I was trying to play for like a 10-12 footer coming back and it just didn’t come out and it blew back in the hazard.
“I didn’t quite feel comfortable with my game today even though I drove it great. It was definitely reflective in my scoring today. I didn’t quite feel comfortable and just didn’t quite hit the ball close enough or give myself a lot of looks at it.”
While unhappy with his score, perhaps the best news for Woods is that the focus this week is on his game and not simply his return to action. It was a year ago that he first began his latest comeback after multiple back surgeries. He was just glad to be on the course that day — and he took time on Thursday to reflect on the last 12 months and how far he has come.
“Yeah, there have been a lot of thoughts of that, not just today but this entire week of where I started at last year coming into this event and looking at how the year’s panned out,” Woods said. “It’s been pretty amazing.”
Now if he can just get past the cold.
“I just don’t have the same energy,” he said. “That’s just from being under the weather like I have been. I’ve just been rundown and I’m tired and been trying to catch up with it.
“I’m feeling a lot better today, for sure. It’s been a long last week or so. At least this tournament’s now started and we’ve got it underway. Now I’m back into the rhythm of playing again, which is nice.”