Hot putter keeps Tiger in U.S. Open mixTiger Woods carded a 1-under 70 in Round 1 at Pebble Beach
June 13, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- June 13, 2019
Tiger Woods' swing comparison 2000 vs. 2019
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Tiger Woods shot a 1-under 70 on Thursday at the U.S. Open. It could have been a lot worse if not for some impressive putting.
The 81-time PGA TOUR winner needed just 25 putts, one-putting 11 greens to ensure he remained within striking distance of leader Justin Rose who shot 6-under 65. Rose, playing with Woods, tied the lowest opening round in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. That record previously belonged to Woods alone from 2000.
It might not have been vintage Woods like it was at the turn of the millennium when he won at this venue by 15 shots but it was vintage Woods guile. The 15-time major winner made sure to limit the damage of his poor shots with strategic recovery shots and then made the putts that mattered.
In all he made 120-feet, 1-inch worth of putts including a 30-foot par save on the 14th to maintain his round.
Woods struggled with his approach game, hitting just nine of the 18 greens in regulation. His three birdies in the first seven holes were somewhat negated by a double bogey on the par-3 5th. He made 11 straight pars to close the round.
“I didn't hit my irons as crisp as I'd like. I tried to miss the ball in the correct spots, and a couple of times where I had wedges in my hand I was just dumping, center of the green, move on, get my 30-, 40-footer and move on about my business and take my medicine when I was in a bad spot and just kind of grind it out,” Woods said.
“It was just hanging in there, just typical of the U.S. Open. I made a couple of putts, but the majority of the putts were all uphill. And that's the key to playing this golf course, you can't be past the flag.
“I’m very pleased to shoot under par today.”
ROUND 1: TIGER HOLE-BY-HOLE
HOLE 18 (552 yards, par 5): There’s definitely been some issues in this group with which player has honors. After Rose teed off first on this iconic closing hole, Tiger thought he was next, then quickly caught himself, as Spieth was hitting second. Tiger’s last tee shot of the day, with 3-wood, is a good one, as it runs out past the tree on the right side of the fairway, just behind Rose’s ball. With a 5-wood from 225 yards, Woods looks anxiously as his approach drifts left of the green. It ends up in the bunker between the green and the water. He’s left with a very awkward stance – the ball up against the back lip, his feet spread wide and on the grass above the ball. He ends up on the green, but 39 feet away. He two-putts from there, a tap-in for par. It’s a fitting ending for a grinding round in which he parred the final 11 holes for a 1-under 70.
Fairway: Hit (10 of 14). Green: Hit (9 of 18). Putts: 2 (25). Score: Par (1-under 70)
HOLE 17 (218 yards, par 3): His tee shots catches some of the wind coming in from Stillwater Cove and ends up splashing into the large bunker short of the green. A nice out leaves him inside 7 feet for par … and of course, he makes it. But with 10 straight pars, he’s falling behind his playing partner Rose, who rolls in a long birdie putt to move to 5 under and tie the clubhouse leaders.
Fairway: N/A (9 of 13). Green: Missed (8 of 17). Putts: 1 (23). Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 16 (402 yards, par 4): Playing the last par 4 of the round, Woods finds the fairway in between the fairway bunkers. Left with an 160-yard approach, he finishes in the center of the green, avoiding the trouble on the right of the pin. With a 27-foot birdie attempt, Tiger walks toward the pin while his ball is still rolling – but he knew he had missed it just to the right. A tap-in for par.
Fairway: Hit (9 of 13). Green: Hit (8 of 16). Putts: 2 (22). Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 15 (399 yards, par 4): Tiger’s 245-yard tee shot finishes in the first cut on the right side. From 151 yards with the pin on the back right near the bunker, he plays a smart, conservative shot that hits the green and spins just into the fringe. Rose follows with an aggressive second shot and finds the bunker, hiding his eyes in disbelief. Tiger’s lengthy putt from nearly 60 feet is well-judged, and he’s left with a tap-in par. The par train has now reached eighth consecutive holes.
Fairway: Missed (8 of 12). Green: Hit (7 of 15). Putts: 2 (20). Score: Par (1 under for round)
The 🐅 fist pump ...— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 14, 2019
Some pars are better than others. 💪 pic.twitter.com/RNjwCrCZjZ
HOLE 14 (592 yards, par 5): On the dogleg-right hole, Woods opts for driver off the tee and finds the fairway with his 313-yard driver. He decides to go for the green from 282 yards away, but his fairway wood comes up just short, finding the greenside bunker. But with a hard swing, Tiger catches all ball and it sails over the green and into the rough, leaving him with a tough fourth shot to get anywhere close to the pin. His chip finally gets him onto the green, but 30 feet away from par. No worries. He drills the putt to save par and follows with a fist pump, his first of the day. It’s the biggest of his all his lengthy par-saving putts – and it’s his sixth consecutive one-putt green. On a day of low scores by U.S. Open standards, Tiger’s at least successfully grinding.
Fairway: Hit (8 of 11) | Green: Missed (6 of 14) | Putts: 1 (18) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 13 (447 yards, par 4): A missed fairway with a 300-yard drive leaves Woods in the deep right rough off the tee. He’s joined there by Rose, who also missed right. Woods has the shorter of the two approaches. Unlike Rose, whose second shot also found the heavy stuff, Woods managed to leave himself with a good lie just short of the green. His chip runs just past the pin, leaving him with a 5-foot par putt that he converts.
Fairway: Missed (7 of 10) | Green: Missed (6 of 13) | Putts: 1 (17) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 12 (202 yards, par 3): With the wind coming from the left after turning back toward the clubhouse, Tiger opts for 6-iron off the tee. He carries the bunker guarding the green, his ball bouncing to the other side and finishing just on the fringe up against the collar. He judges the tricky putt nicely with his speed, leaving him with a short putt to save par.
Fairway: N/A (7 of 9) | Green: Missed (6 of 12) | Putts: 1 (16) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 11 (387 yards, par 4): Many others have used driver off this tee, but Tiger opts for 3-wood, finding the fairway 271 yards away. He’s left with an approach of 112 yards but can’t find the green, his ball ending up short and in the greenside bunker. An unforced error after a good drive -- but it’s not harmful, as he nearly holes his bunker shot, the ball hitting the pin and leaving him with a tap-in par.
Fairway: Hit (7 of 9) | Green: Missed (6 of 11) | Putts: 1 (15) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 10 (493 yards, par 4): Playing partner Justin Rose pegs his tee into the ground … except he doesn’t have the honors. He playfully picks it back up, and Tiger follows with an all-business drive, 305 yards away that finds the left side of the fairway. From 191 yards and with a slightly sidehill lie that leaves his feet above the hole, Tiger’s approach tempts the right edge with the dropoff to the beach but stays up short and right of the green. He opts for putter and has the right line before the ball runs out of steam, leaving him with a par-saving putt from 5 feet.
Fairway: Hit (6 of 8) | Green: Missed (6 of 10) | Putts: 1 (14) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 9 (502 yards, par 4): Driver off the tee on this long par 4, and Tiger knows it’s a good one. He’s practically unwrapping a sandwich from his bag before the ball even lands in the fairway 304 yards away. That leaves him 201 yards from the pin. He ranks first on TOUR in proximity to the hole from that distance, but this approach just leaves him frustrated. He angrily stomps the divot as his ball comes up short of the green and in the deep rough. No worries – a terrific chip leaves him with a tap-in to save par.
Fairway: Hit (5 of 7) | Green: Missed (6 of 9) | Putts: 1 (13) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 8 (433 yards, par 4): With iron off the tee, Woods finds the fairway 216 yards away. The approach shot at 8 -- among the best second shots in golf with the barranca between the fairway and the hole – is 200 yards to the pin. Woods looks displeased while watching his shot in the air, but the ball hits in the fringe and takes a great kick, bouncing onto the green and finishing pin-high 21 feet away. Good speed on his birdie attempt but not the right line. He taps in for par, a solid start for the toughest three-hole stretch on the course.
Fairway: Hit (4 of 6) | Green: Hit (6 of 8) | Putts: 2 (12) | Score: Par (1 under for round)
HOLE 7 (108 yards, par 3): At the short, picturesque hole, Tiger lines up near the left tee marker, his wedge coming up short of the pin, then spinning back to 23 feet. Tiger finds the right line and drains the birdie putt. It’s his third birdie in his last four holes, and he’s successfully fought back after the double bogey.
Fairway: N/A (3 of 5) | Green: Hit (5 of 7) | Putts: 1 (10) | Score: Birdie (1 under for round)
HOLE 6 (518 yards, par 5): A chance to get at least one back on his first par 5 of the round. Tiger pounds his tee shot 284 yards away, the ball finishing in the first cut down the left side, a nice angle into the uphill green. From 232 yards, his second shot lands in the fairway short of the green, then rolls into the first cut of rough on the left. A beautiful chip from 26 yards bounces just past the pin, setting up a 3-foot birdie putt that he converts. He’s back to even for the round.
Fairway: Missed (3 of 5) | Green: Hit (4 of 6) | Putts: 1 (9) | Score: Birdie (Even for round)
HOLE 5 (188 yards, par 3): Woods steps onto the teebox of his first par 3 of this week ranked No. 1 on the PGA TOUR in par-3 scoring. But his first tee shot leads to huge trouble. Woods’ shot sails to the left and takes a huge bounce on the pavement running alongside the hole before ending up in the deep stuff across the cart path from the stands and a TV tower. “One of the greatest double-crosses he’s probably ever hit in his life,” says Fox analyst Paul Azinger, hardly a compliment. Woods mutters to himself, the momentum from the previous hole having been lost. “When you do hit a shot like that, it can haunt you for the rest of the round,” Azinger adds. With his ball deep in the grass, Woods’ second shot finishes in the rough on the other side of the green. He chips out, his shot running 10 feet past the pin. He’s above the hole – the one place he wanted to avoid this week. He misses the bogey putt to the right, becoming the fourth player of the day to double-bogey the fifth. “That’s as poorly a played hole as I can ever remember seeing Tiger play,” Azinger says.
Fairway: N/A (3 of 4) | Green: Missed (3 of 5) | Putts: 2 (7) | Score: Double bogey (1 over for round)
HOLE 4 (328 yards, par 4): Iron off the tee on this short par 4. Woods’ 234-yard drive lands in the fairway, just left of center. That sets him up just 95 yards from the pin, and his approach with wedge is a beauty. It hits in front of the pin, take a long bounce past the hole, then spins back inside 4 feet. Terrific shot for a player who ranks 138th on TOUR in approach shots from 75-100 yards. With his first makeable birdie attempt, Woods buries the putt to get into red numbers.
Fairway: Hit (3 of 4) | Green: Hit (3 of 4) | Putts: 1 (6) | Score: Birdie (1 under for round)
HOLE 3 (par 4, 404 yards): Woods keeps driver in his bag, opting for a fairway wood that ends with a club twirl as he finds the middle of the fairway, 260 yards away. His approach from 152 yards is pin-high and rolls just onto the fringe, 30 feet away. An aggressive birdie attempt runs 9 feet past the hole, but for the second consecutive hole, he saves par with a clutch putt. He’s holding steady at even par through three holes, but he’s feeling good about his flatstick inside 10 feet.
Fairway: Hit (2 of 3) | Green: Hit (2 of 3) | Putts: 2 (5) | Score: Par (Even for round)
HOLE 2 (par 4, 516 yards): Just before Woods tee off with driver in hand, analyst Curtis Strange says, “So much depends on this club this week.” Alas, Tiger’s first driver swing is not a successful one. His 297-yard tee shot lands in the grassy island nestled in the middle of the left-side fairway bunker. The second cut of the rough there is high, and Woods has no option but to simply hack out onto the fairway. That leaves him 121 yards away with his third shot. His wedge finishes pin-high. Faced with a 15-footer, Woods drains the putt to save par. A nice way to overcome a poor tee shot.
Fairway: Hit (1 of 2) | Green: Missed (1 of 2) | Scrambling: 1 of 1 | Putts: 1 (3) | Score: Par (Even for round)
HOLE 1 (par 4, 380 yards): Woods, wearing black pants, a white polo and a grey sweater vest, is last to tee off in his group. Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose each find the rough off the tee with irons. Woods, also using a long iron, delivers a perfect drive, followed by a club twirl. He doesn’t even watch the ball finish in the left side of the fairway, 257 yards away. That leaves him with an approach from 157 yards. He finds the green, his ball ending up 24 feet, 4 inches for his birdie attempt. He finds the right line, but his ball hangs agonizingly on the lip, the ball logo staring right at the cup. He taps in for par.
Fairway: Hit (1 of 1) | Green: Hit (1 of 1) | Putts: 2 | Score: Par (Even for round)
TIGER’S GAMEPLAN: Although he’s not as dominant as he was in 2000, Tiger does know what it takes to win a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. “You look at all my angles,” Tiger said when asked how he could apply his 2000 win to this week. “I did not hit every green. I did not hit every fairway, but I always had the proper angle. And gave me the best chance to get up-and-down. I poured everything in. Hopefully I can have one of those weeks on the greens again.”
PEBBLE BEACH THEN AND NOW: Woods was asked to compare the differences at Pebble Beach this year compared to 2000. “Right now I would have to say that it's more clumpy than it was in 2000,” he said. “In 2000 it was pretty uniform all the way through. Right now they've got some spots where you can draw a good lie. You can get a ball to the green with no problem. And then there's spots where it's just a wedge, hack it out in the fairway and try to get up-and-down from the middle of the fairway. That's probably the biggest difference between uniform and clumpy, between the two years.”
TIGER ON PEBBLE BEACH: Besides his U.S. Open win, Tiger also has won the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. And in his first pro start at Pebble Beach, he shot 63-64 on the weekend to finish T-2; that ties his lowest weekend score ever on TOUR (along with the 1999 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines). While his success on the historic course can’t quite match another California track a little farther south – the aforementioned Torrey Pines in San Diego – Woods understands how special it is to play a major here. “There's nothing like playing a U.S. Open setup here in the Pebble Beach,” he said. “The golf course is not overly long. It's not big in that regard, but man, it's tricky. The greens are all slanted, very small targets. And if they ever firm up, then we have a totally different ballgame.”
PLAYING PARTNERS: Woods’ playing partners for the first two rounds are Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose. This will be the eighth different tournament that Spieth and Woods have been paired, including last year’s THE PLAYERS Championship. The only other major was the 2014 Open Championship. This will be the 12th different tournament that Rose and Woods have been paired, including just two weeks ago for the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. They’ve also been paired three different years of the Open.