PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tiger Woods opened The Players Championship with a 1-over 73, a score that put him in the middle of the pack and left the two-time champion frustrated.
“Probably the highest score I could have shot today,” Woods said. “I didn’t get much out of that round. I hit the ball better than I think the score indicates, and I got a couple good breaks and never took advantage of them.”
Woods’ round had no shortage of highs and lows. The positives included a chip-in birdie on No. 17 that brought the house down around the island green; the lows included the double bogey that followed on No. 18 after Woods hooked his tee shot into the water.
His most troubling swing came on the eighth tee, a chunked 4-iron that came up 40 yards short of the green before bounding into a creek that's usually not in play. That swipe – where Woods admitted he “barely made contact” – led to a double bogey.
“It’s one of those things where (swing coach) Chris (Como) and I are working on some things, and when I start feeling a certain way, I revert back to old habits,” he said. “I don’t think my ball actually touched the grooves, put it that way.”
Woods found only 10 of 18 greens in regulation and had a handful of significant misses off the tee, but after the round he placed the brunt of the blame on his putter despite taking only 27 putts and circling five birdies.
“Just really struggled hitting the putts hard enough to get them to the hole,” he said. “I just, even when I tried to ram them, I still didn’t get the ball to the hole, so I need to make a better adjustment on that.”
Woods sits six shots behind four co-leaders, and will likely need to better his score Friday to make the cut. While he withdrew from this event in both 2010 and 2011, he has never missed a cut in 16 appearances on the Stadium Course.
His focus, however, is on working his way back into contention rather than simply securing a third-round tee time.
“I should have shot in the 60s easily today,” Woods said. “Hopefully tomorrow I can get it done.”