BETHESDA, Md. – There were no answers on Wednesday, but then there rarely are during pro-am rounds on the PGA Tour.
Tiger Woods returned from an injury-induced 15-week break on Wednesday with predictably mixed results. He hit his first tee shot, at the par-3 10th hole, into a water hazard; fanned his second drive (at No. 11) nearly into a creek; and hit just one fairway and three greens in regulation on his opening loop.
Following a drive that soared out of bounds at the 18th hole, Woods said he discovered something with his swing and was much more steady to close his round.
“My grip got a little bit weak,” said Woods, who practiced but did not play on Tuesday. “That’s one of the reasons I was losing the ball to the right, so I just got to strengthen it up.”
The better news was that following back surgery on March 31 for a pinched nerve he felt no pain on Wednesday and didn’t seem to be playing tentatively.
At the par-4 15th hole, for example, Woods’ drive found the rough right of the fairway and from a downhill lie in the rough he carved a 5-wood onto the back of the green.
“I tried it out last week and didn’t have any problem hitting shots off uneven lies,” said Woods, who tees off at 8:12 a.m. ET for Thursday’s opening round at No. 10. “That was a shot (at No. 15) I actually had already tested.”
Woods hit five fairways and eight greens in regulation on his closing nine and made two birdies during his round, including an 8-footer at the ninth to close his round.