Tough day for Tiger in Round 1 at The Open
July 18, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- July 18, 2019
- Tiger Woods couldn't quite find a spark during Round 1 at Royal Portrush. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Tiger Woods had an inkling he might struggle in Thursday’s opening round of The Open Championship. His warm-up wasn’t very good. He just wasn’t feeling right; more likely, he was feeling his age (43).
“I had a hard time moving,” Woods said. “And just trying to piece together a swing that will get me around a golf course. And then all of a sudden I made probably one of the best pars you've ever seen on one today. That was a pretty good start.
“But it was kind of downhill from there.”
Indeed, after he saved par from the greenside pot bunker on his opening hole with a lengthy putt, Woods would eventually see his round unravel, suffering five bogeys in a six-hole stretch around the turn. Eventually, it would end with one last bogey to finish out a 7-over 78 – his worst opening round in 21 starts at The Open.
It was not the kind of performance Northern Ireland fans were hoping to see in their first glimpse of Woods in competition mode. It was definitely not vintage Tiger, even if he got the most out of his round.
“I didn't do much out there today,” he said. “I hit a lot of missed shots, they were all left. Wasn't hitting it solid. Everything was off the heel. Just trying to scrape it around.
“Best I could do was 7 over.”
Woods’ only birdie came at the 15th; afterwards he raised both arms in mock celebration. But it was not a day in which he did much cheering, as heavy bursts of rain and increasing chilly temperatures made their impact. He was also making his first start in a month as he tries to manage his schedule.
Despite the rest over the last month, he was still sore on Thursday. He could even be seen wincing on his first shot.
“I'm just not moving as well as I'd like,” Woods said. “And unfortunately, you've got to be able to move, and especially under these conditions, shape the golf ball. And I didn't do it. I didn't shape the golf ball at all. Everything was left-to-right. And wasn't hitting very solidly.”
“Just the way it is. Just Father Time and some procedures I've had over the time. Just the way it's going to be. As I said, one of the reasons why I'm playing less tournaments this year is that I can hopefully prolong my career and be out here for a little bit longer.”
After his opening 78, he might not be at Royal Portrush much longer. After a 5-hour round that didn’t end until 8 p.m. local time Thursday, he’ll have just 13 hours before teeing it up again Friday morning in Round 2, his goal now just to reach the weekend.
“Hopefully the body responds,” Woods said. “That's just the nature of the procedure that I had. I'm going to have days like this and got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately I did not post a very good score.” – By Mike McAllister
ROUND 1: TIGER HOLE-BY-HOLE
No. 1, par 4 (421 yards): After receiving a terrific ovation from the crowd, Tiger tees off with an iron … and winces as his ball sails into the left rough. Not a good sign. From 192 yards away, his second shot comes up short of the green and rolls into the left-front bunker. (Remember when Tiger won the Open without finding a bunker?). He does well to blast out inside 15 feet, but before he can stand over his par putt, the rain starts blasting away. No worries. Tiger rolls in the par save.
Score: Par (Even through 1 hole)
No. 2, par 5 (574 yards): Woods is in trouble off the tee on the first par 5 on the course, this time finding a bunker. It forces a pitch-out and a very long approach from the fairway. Woods has always been a master of the long iron, though, and from 237 yards away he’s able to shape one onto the green to give himself 25 feet for birdie. It’s a big swinger from right to left up and over a rise, but it swings under the hole. Par is secured, though.
Score: Par (Even through 2 holes)
No. 3, par 3 (175 yards): The opening par-3 is 175 yards today but is playing downwind. Woods takes a pitching wedge and takes dead aim. The ball comes down and takes a great couple of bounces from the front of the putting surface before rolling out to about 10 feet. The stiffness seems to have loosened a little after that swing, but his putt burns the left edge and lips out. He can’t believe it went that way. Another par.
Score: Par (Even through 3 holes)
No. 4, par 4 (482 yards): A stretching session on the tee box for Woods before he pulls the trigger here. Clearly his back is bothering him in the chilly Northern Ireland conditions. He goes with a 3-wood that slides from left to right and comes to rest just on the edge of a divot. From 171 yards out, Woods shows he’s still got some juice when he sprints after his shot and it leaks a little right to get a look. He likes what he sees when it catches a mound and kicks forward and left to hole high about 25 feet away. The birdie try is a solid effort but it never makes a move back to the left that Woods is expecting. Another par. He’s on the grind for sure.
Score: Par (Even through 4 holes)
No. 5, par 4 (374 yards): The short par 4 invites players to have a go, but Woods finds his way somewhere in between with a solid 3-wood to the right edge of the fairway, fairly close to the green. He leaves himself 84 yards to the pin and then goes high and deep with his wedge rather than trying to skip it in. The result leaves a lengthy birdie look from the back of the green. From downtown Woods leaves his birdie putt significantly short. His 10-foot par attempt is low from the moment it hits the putter face and Woods’ decision to layup off the tee now looks strange after a three-putt bogey.
Score: Bogey (1 over through 5 holes)
No. 6, par 3 (194 yards): Time to judge the winds again as Woods turns around into the breeze. He pulled a 4-iron on the tee from 185 yards and tugged it long and left. Woods is lucky he’s not in the long heavy stuff that playing partner Matt Wallace has found right near him … or is he? An attempted flop shot shoots out across the green and found the rough on the other side. His third finds the green but he overplays the break with his bogey putt and makes an ugly double bogey. All of a sudden he’s struggling, having dropped three shots in the last two holes.
Score: Double bogey (3 over through 6 holes)
No. 7, par 5 (592 yards): Rain intensifies as Tiger prepares to tee off, with caddie Joe LaCava holding his umbrella sideways. Tiger’s tee shot sails left into the high grass, leaving him 365 yards to the hole. His second shot stays left and finds more high grass. He’s not happy, as he tosses his club to the bag. Facing a blind third shot behind a big mound, Tiger’s shot from 198 yards catches the top of the mound and advances only a few yards away while again staying in the long grass. Tiger finally finds the fairway with his fourth shot; he’s still 101 yards away. With a nice lie, Woods delivers a great wedge shot, the ball hitting just above the hole and spinning back pin-high inside 2 feet. It’s a bogey but it could’ve been much worse.
Score: Bogey (4 over through 7 holes)
No. 8, par 4 (434 yards): With 3-wood off the tee, Tiger’s drive finds the area between the bunkers on the right side and dribbles back into the fairway, leaving him 143 yards to the pin. His wedge ends up on the green, a solid approach shot but 30 feet away. His birdie attempt is on line but comes up a rotation or two short, and he taps in for a stress-free par.
Score: Par (4 over through 8 holes)
No. 9, par 4 (432 yards): Another 3-wood off the tee, but this one isn’t nearly as effective, as it finds the long grass on the left side of the fairway. Tiger’s lie is horrible, the ball above his feet. He can only advance the ball 15 or 20 yards but at least he’s out of the long grass. On TV, Peter Jacobsen is asked how much of a toll all the violent swings Tiger has played just to get out of the long grass is having on his back. “When you’re slugging it out of that heavy rough, it takes a lot of you.” Tiger’s third shot from 150 yards finds the green, at least giving him a putt to save par. But his attempt from inside 20 feet misses left, and he taps in for bogey. He’s 5 over at the turn and still looking for his first birdie.
Score: Bogey (5 over through 9 holes)
No. 10, par 4 (447 yards): Driver this time, and Woods manages to avoid the heavy stuff, as his tee shot hits on the fairway and dribbles onto the first cut. A good lie but he faces a blind second shot from 135 yards. His approach drifts left of the green and into the rough. He chip out past the hole, about 15 feet past the hole. But his par-saver stays left of the cup. Another bogey.
Score: Bogey (6 over through 10)
No. 11, par 4 (474 yards): His tee shot with driver finds the fairway, but his approach shot from 191 yards leaves him less than thrilled. Although the ball finishes pin-high on the other half of the green, Tiger offers a frustrated look. His lengthy birdie attempt runs by the call, but he makes the 6-footer coming back for a welcomed par.
Score: Par (6 over through 11)
No. 12, par 5 (532 yards): Tiger didn’t see his ball coming off the tee, but it’s fine, as it splits the fairway. His second shot, though, sails left and into the rough short of the green. No worries – a deftly played wedge gets him onto the green, leaving him with a birdie putt inside 15 feet … a rarity on this day. Unfortunately, he can’t convert the opportunity and stays birdie-free for the round as he taps in for par.
Score: Par (6 over through 12)
No. 13, par 3 (194 yards): Perhaps his best swing of the day off the tee, as his tee shot finds the front of the green and rolls toward the pin, eventually finishing pin-high inside 12 feet. But again, his birdie attempt stays left. A disappointing par.
Score: Par (6 over through 13)
No. 14, par 4 (473 yards): Tiger uses a gentle fade off the tee with his 3-wood to successfully navigate between the fairway bunkers. But from 163 yards, his approach veers left. Tiger lashes out in frustration even before the ball bounds into the deep greenside bunker that leaves him with essentially a blind shot. His bunker shot finds the green, but having hit it with such height, there’s no roll and he has a lengthy par putt. He two-putts from outside 45 feet for a bogey.
Score: Bogey (7 over through 14)
No. 15, par 4 (426 yards): Tee shot finds the fairway with a 290-yard drive. His approach from 145 yards finds the green but with another lengthy birdie putt, outside 40 feet. This time – it rolls in! Tiger raises both arms in mock celebration, a long day finally giving him a chance to smile. First birdie of the round.
Score: Birdie (6 over through 15)
Tiger cards his first birdie of Round 1 on No. 15.pic.twitter.com/RL5OTlmYJA— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 18, 2019
No. 16, par 3 (236 yards): With honors off the tee, Tiger gets first crack at Calamity Corner. There’s a brief delay as Tiger contemplates the hole with a 30-plus foot dropoff on the right side. Tiger avoids trouble by missing left, his ball ending up in a collection area. His playing partners find the same location. Tiger goes first and his chip just rolls by the pin. He saves par from 6 feet.
Score: Par (6 over through 16)
No. 17, par 4 (408 yards): Tiger finds the fairway with his drive but he’s short of his playing partners and can’t see the green from his spot on the hill, as there’s a 22-foot drop in elevation. “Is it clear?” he asks. Given the OK, his approach lands on the green, back right. He two-putts from there for par.
Score: Par (6 over through 17)
No. 18, par 4 (474 yards): His drive misses the landing zone left and finds the tall grass. He tries to cut a shot, but the ball stays in the rough along the left side. His chip runs past the pin, and he two-putts from there for a bogey and a 7-over 78 – his worst opening round in his Open Championship history.
Score: Bogey (7 over through 18)