Tiger Woods often says St. Andrews is his favorite golf course in the world and it certainly has the perfect first hole for him. Wide open and calling for an iron off the tee to layup before the Swilcan Burn, it’s a great way to get off to a good start.
Woods semi-chunked his iron off the tee. His wedge approach was hit slightly better, but it failed to clear the narrow strip of water drawing gasps from a heavy pro-Tiger crowd. Woods dropped and got up-and-down to save bogey, but the problems were just beginning.
On the 452nd-yard par-4 second, Woods chose an iron while his playing partners both boomed drivers. Hitting his approach from some 70 yards behind Jason Day, Woods watched as his ball came up a good 30 yards short. After knocking his third to about 15 feet, Woods struck what he thought was a perfect putt. He stepped in for a small fist pump, but the ball horseshoed out of the cup, drawing this pained reaction.
Two holes, two over. A couple days removed from saying he wants to play the Old Course backwards before he dies, the only place Woods was going in reverse on Thursday was down the leader board.
Meanwhile, a light Easterly wind had the outward nine at St. Andrews there for the taking on Day 1. Just among those teeing off earlier than Tiger on Thursday morning, David Lingmerth shot 29. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Robert Streb shot 31. Woods shot 40.
Woods made that easy portion of the course look difficult and he certainly made it play longer by hitting a number of irons off the tee. When he finally hit driver on No. 4, he striped one down the middle — and right into a divot.
Bad play. Bad breaks. Woods may still love this place, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to see much Old Course magic this week.
UPDATE: Woods shot 76, his worst-ever opening score at the British Open. It will take him a tremendous effort on Friday to avoid missing back-to-back cuts in majors for the first time in his career.
courtesy of Alex Myers (golfdigest.com)