It is becoming his signature move with which to open tournaments – miss the fairway left en route to a bogey.
Tiger Woods has won a record five times at Muirfield Village and never missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament in 14 starts, yet after reaching the turn in 40, that looked a raging possibility.
It was car-crash golf with Woods posting three bogeys in the opening four holes and closing the outward nine with a double. He then curled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the second hole, his 11th, and a 16-footer at the sixth. There would be one more birdie at the par-five seventh, secured despite another errant tee shot.
Woods did as he always has and simply dogged it out to close on one over par, six off the clubhouse lead.
Whatever the state of his game might be, there is no questioning Woods’ pride. He has work to do to make the weekend but he won’t want for desire or commitment. “I didn’t play very good at all,” he said. “I just didn’t have it today. I just grinded, that’s all I did.
“I was just trying to stay committed to what we’re working on, to what we’re doing. I hit it awful. So what? I was going to go through this phase and stick with it, keep sticking with it – and some of the shots I hit were really, really good, but then I also had some really bad shots, too. And we need to work on that, too, and omit the bad ones.”
The ‘we’ in the arrangement is Chris Como, the swing coach in whom Woods has invested all to adapt his game post-back surgery a year ago. Unfortunately for both, the yards are proving harder than ever.
Starting at the 10th, Justin Rose was four under after seven holes and, despite a couple of bogeys thereafter, a total of six birdies saw him in at the same score, one off the early lead shared by five.
Another for whom consistency has become a byword, Jordan Spieth, also carded a four-under 68, his only bogey coming at the eighth, his penultimate hole.
“Very pleased with the round,” he said. “Driving is key. You need to be in the fairway to have a chance at getting at these hole locations.” Spieth is rarely anywhere else.Reuse content