Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 18th 2014 Contents A49
Friday, July 18, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
HOYLAKE---The warm ovation
Tiger Woods heard walking up the
18th fairway at Royal Liverpool
sounded familiar, even if the cir-
cumstances were not.
Eight years ago it was because
he was about to win the British
Yesterday was because he played.
Woods returned to the majors
for the first time in 11 months yes-
terday and gave thousands of fans
perched along the hillocks what
they wanted to see---a three-time
Open champion looking as if he has
the game to win another one.
He atoned for a bogey-bogey start
with five birdies in a six-hole stretch
at the end for a three-under 69.
Woods was three shots behind Rory
McIlroy with half the field still to
play on a gorgeous day of sunshine
and mild wind along the Irish Sea.
He was neither surprised nor sat-
isfied. It felt like the other 250
rounds he has played in the majors
as a pro.
"I knew I could do it," Woods
said. "That s why I was telling you
guys it was so important for me to
play at Congressional. The fact that
I was able to recover every day, and
the fact that I was strong, more
explosive the more days I
played....I m only going to get better
from that point."
Woods had back surgery March
31 that caused him to miss the Mas-
ters for the first time, and then the
US Open. He returned earlier than
he expected at Congressional three
weeks ago and missed the cut by
four shots. His short game was
shabby and he made more mental
mistakes than birdies.
The start of this round didn t
look much different.
He missed the green with a
seven-iron and drew such a tough
lie on the downslope of the pot
bunker that he had no chance stop-
ping it anywhere near the pin. The
shot went across and off the green,
and Woods had to get up-and-
down for bogey. Then, he badly
misjudged the speed of a long birdie
try and three-putted for bogey.
Two holes, two over.
Even more disturbing was his shot
from behind the fourth green after going
long with a wedge. Woods used his putter
from 30 feet away and came up eight
Two putts seemed to make a difference
in his round. That par putt on No. 4
kept him from going three over, and a
30-foot putt for birdie from just off the
11th green appeared to make him swing
more freely. The next tee shot with a
three-wood was as good as any swing
all day, and it set up a six-iron into six
feet for a second straight birdie. It also
marked the first time Woods was under
par at a tournament since March 9 at
Doral, the last one he played before back
He followed that with a six-iron that
left him seven feet away for birdie on
the par-three 13th. After a bogey set up
by a three-wood into the left rough,
Woods answered with a seven-iron on
an aggressive line to 15 feet for birdie on
the par-three 15th, and then a simple
birdie on the par-five 16th.
The 16th hole was the first---and only
time---he used driver all day.
By pure numbers, Woods went 71
holes over eight years without using a
driver in competition at Hoylake. The
only driver he hit in 2006 when he won
was on the 16th hole of the opening
round. He put that in the adjacent 17th
fairway. Royal Liverpool is greener and
longer this year, and most players were
using a few more drivers.
The one driver he hit made Woods
curse. He tugged it left and figured it
was headed for a pot bunker.
"I wanted to start it in that first bunker
and hit a hard pull-cut," he said. "And
I hit more a pulled straight ball. I didn t
think it was going to miss that bunker."
He did, and then put his second shot
just short of the green and in an easy
spot to chip close for birdie.
YESTERDAY'S LEADING SCORES
Great stretch puts Tiger on prowl
Tiger Woods of the US plays
a shot off the 4th tee during
the first day of the British
Open Golf championship at
the Royal Liverpool golf
club, Hoylake, England,
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