For starters, it was relatively straight and landed in the fairway.
I dont know how far I hit it, Woods said after his pro-am round at Quail Hollow. I dont know long the hole is, but I had 118 yards to the hole.
Told the par 4 measured 486 yards, Woods didnt bother doing the math.
There you go, he said. I hit it good.
Life is better than good these days. Some might say its just grand.
Fresh from a three-week break after his dramatic playoff victory in the Masters, Woods returns to the PGA Tour at the Wachovia Championship and already is facing questions about the Grand Slam.
Rumors were swirling at Quail Hollow that Woods was a late arrival because he stopped over at Pinehurst No. 2, about two hours away, where the U.S. Open will be played next month.
The last time I was there it was raining and I missed a putt on the 18th, Woods said, referring to his tie for third in the 1999 U.S. Open, two shots behind Payne Stewart.
He was asked Wednesday if he was thinking about the Grand Slam.
Im in the Grand Slam, yes, Woods said, referring to the Hawaii exhibition for all the major winners. No, Im not thinking about that. You cant think about that unless youve won the first three and get to the last one. Youve got to take it one step at a time.
Still, it beats the conversation from a year ago.
Woods was coming off his worst finish ever in the Masters'a tie for 22nd'and then blew a 36-hole lead at the Wachovia Championship for the first time in five years. The most glaring example of his game was on the 16th hole in the third round, when his driving was so erratic that he aimed 30 yards left and played a big fade just to keep it in play.
Scrutiny of his swing now has given way to speculation whether he can dominate the tour again.
His fourth Masters victory wasnt a masterpiece.
He had a two-shot lead with two holes to play when he made back-to-back bogeys to fall into a playoff with Chris DiMarco. But as Woods reflected during his three weeks away from the tour, he found validation from the two shots he hit in the playoff'a 3-wood off the tee, an 8-iron to 15 feet for birdie.
If I would have lost the tournament, I probably would have gotten ridiculed pretty good, Woods said. And rightfully so. A two-shot lead and two holes to go, and the other guy makes two pars and hes in a playoff? Thats not very good. But the thing that made me so proud was the way I played in the playoff.
To come back and hit my two best golf shots ... under the most extreme pressure, thats when you know youre working on the right things.
Woods took longer to recover from this Masters victory than the other three.
He celebrated at his house in Augusta with his ailing father, flew home to Florida at night and couldnt sleep, still wired about ending his 0-for-10 drought in the majors and surviving a battle he never expected.
Even after I went on my vacation, spear fishing, and had a great time doing that, I was still not quite back to normal yet, he said. I dont know why it took so much out of me, more mentally than physically. All of a sudden, one morning I felt like I was ready to start practicing again.
Where it leads is anyones guess.
Fred Funk and Jose Maria Olazabal were among those in the days after the Masters that did not think Woods could ever dominate the way he did from 1999 to 2001, when he won 19 of 38 tour events.
Adam Scott is not so sure.
I think it was a pretty special win, Scott said. I do believe he can be as dominant as he was. Theres no reason why he should not be. It just depends whether he gets his game and frame of mind back what it was a few years ago. A win like that can certainly spur him on to really get into it.
The road resumes at Quail Hollow, one of the best courses all year on the PGA Tour, in a tournament that has nine of the top 11 players in the world, including Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Sergio Garcia and Scott.
The defending champion is Joey Sindelar, who won last year for the first time in 14 years.
The rough is not nearly as high as it was last year, and firm conditions are expected to change with rain in the forecast until the weekend.
The forecast for Woods? Despite winning three times this year and winning his ninth career major, he says his game is not where it should be.
I just know Ive got a long way to go'a lot of things I need to work on to get better, he said.
But he will hear sweet music on the first tee Thursday afternoon, where he is introduced as the Masters champion.