Tiger Lurking New Club In Bag

By Brian HewittJune 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Tiger Woods saved a medium (by his lofty standard) round as only he can Thursday. After bogeys on Nos. 8, 10 and 12 he was 2-over par and heading south.
 
Then he made a difficult par putt on the 13th and played the last five holes in 1-under, a stretch that included an up-and down birdie on 17 and a difficult par save on the last.
 
His score after one round of the U.S. Open: 71.
 
Tigers take on Oakmont Thursday: If you play most tournaments, even a major like in Augusta, even other difficult majors that we play, you probably are going to have one or two shots there you can take off you know its not that hard of a shot.
 
For the day Woods hit nine of 14 fairways, 11 greens and needed 30 putts.
 
You can close your eyes and probably hit it either in the fairway or on the greens, its an easy shot. On this golf course there are none, and no easy birdies, most golf courses you play, youre going to pick up a cheap birdie here and there. Here there are none.
 
For the day Woods hit nine of 14 fairways, 11 greens and needed 30 putts.
 
I thought it was a pretty good round of golf, said Hank Haney, Woods swing coach.
 
Haney also noted that Woods took 5-wood out of his bag yesterday and replaced it with a 2-iron. Actually its more like a 1 iron because of the loft having been bent strong. Haney said it was only the second time in the last three years that Woods has put the 2-iron in his bag.
The other time?
 
Hoylake, Haney said.
 
Hoylake, also known as Royal Liverpool in England, is where Woods turned in a tour de force performance to win last years Open Championship, his 11th major championship.
 
Tiger is the one who shows it best, said early first round leader Nick Dougherty. When hes not playing well he has such belief in himself he turns a 76 into a 71 or 72. Thats what happens when your confidence is up.
 
BOO AND BUBBA
Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson played in the same threesome and represented tiny Milton, Fl. (where they both attended high school) quite nicely.
 
The long-hitting, left-handed Watson carded an even par 70. Weekley turned in a 72.
 
Respectable scores, Watson said of the first time he and Weekley had played in the same group on a big stage. Were not used to the bright lights. It was nice to be together.
 
Weekley, saying he didnt want to get too beat up by Oakmont, only played one practice round. Watson said the late Wednesday rain didnt slow the golf course down so much as it made the greens more receptive to incoming shots.
 
The 313-yard 17th was very drivable Thursday and Watson said going for the green in one was the prudent play. The problem with laying back, he said, is the fairways slopes severely from left to right and its hard to keep a shot iron off the tee in the fairway.
 
You have to hit two perfect shots that way, he said. Or you can just hit driver at the front left and hit just one halfway good shot.
 
Hes right, Haney said of Watsons assessment.
 
Watson made par on 17. Woods made birdie.
 
WORDS FROM THE WISE
Despite the relatively benign scoring conditions in the first round there were train wrecks lurking. Just ask Sergio Garcia who needed 42 blows on his first nine holes. Garcia finished with 79.
 
All the players in the field will do well to heed this advice from Arnold Palmer. When I was playing and living through the disasters that I had, and I had plenty of them, (I remembered) my father once said to me when I had a little problem with my game and wasnt doing very well, he said, Arnie, just remember one thing, Its a game. Play it like a game. And Ive always remembered that and I tried to do that.

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