Tiger can't see woods for trees as Monty blows top

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The Independent Online

On the day Colin Montgomerie directed a foul-mouthed blast at a tournament director, Tiger Woods coped with his own golfing hardships by berating only himself. Opening his second comeback event Woods recorded a miserable 74 to leave him nine off the early lead and in danger of missing the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship.

The world No 1 has been in hot water ever since the details first started to emerge last November of his multiple extra-marital affairs. Yesterday he happened to find himself in cold water. Woods, who started on the 10th, saw his ball take a dive into the lake on the par-three 17th green and then on the 18th he hooked his drive into a creek. Those three dropped shots were the low point of a chilling North Carolina morning which featured his radar malfunctioning quite spectacularly.

"I had a lot of issues out there trying to figure out where my balls were going to go," said Woods who hit only four out of 14 fairways on his way to a two-over total which was nine shots worse than his first round in the same event last year.

"I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right, hit a few down the middle, and that was about it," he added. "I didn't know which way it was going to go." He was then asked if he was off to the practice grounds to try to fix his faults. "No, I'm not going to the range this afternoon," he said. "To hell with it."

Woods was clearly angry with a display which left him so far adrift of Bo Van Pelt on seven-under. He had expected to build on a fourth-placed finish at the Masters after his near five-month self-enforced break. "It wasn't the driver, it was everything," he said. "I tried to be easy on myself. But when you're fighting a miss like this it is pretty tough."

At least there was none of the feared heckling. Not that Woods would have noticed if there was. "I didn't really hear much to be honest with you, I was struggling so bad out there," he said. "I was just trying to piece together a round to keep myself in the tournament. One good round tomorrow can get me right back in it."

In truth, there was not that much for the fans to cheer. Woods, who won this event in 2007, began brightly enough on his first hole (the 10th) when he split the fairway on his way to a birdie. But from there the gloom descended. Typical of Woods he refused to bow to his own mediocrity, but instead made the best of what to most of his rivals would have ended up as a 79. He also managed to keep a lid on his emotions, shouting out on a few occasions but with no cursing. Such is the intense focus on Woods at the moment that his behaviour on the course is rated as newsworthy as his score.

Meanwhile, if Woods still feels he needs any advice on how to handle his temper perhaps he should not go to the Europe Ryder Cup captain. Montgomerie belied the responsibilities of his position when turning the air blue at the Spanish Open in Madrid.

The Scot came to the last needing a birdie to record an encouraging three-under 69 and lie just the four behind the first-round leader, Ricardo Gonzalez. Alas, the 46-year-old three-putted for a 71 and directed his ire at the music blaring from a nearby hospitality tent. "Is this a fucking party or a golf tournament?" he boomed at the event's chief, Miguel Vidaor. Unlike Woods, Monty then refused to talk to reporters.