Tiger Tracker: Day 1 running blog


Tiger Woods returned to competition Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard tracked Tiger during Round 1 at Firestone:

5:18 p.m.: Woods closes his first round since going on the 'DL' in May with a par at the 18th hole. His line for the day: 11 greens hit in regulation, five fairways and an opening round of 68. Our line for the day: there was rust, but no limp. Progress.

5:05 p.m.: Woods hit iron off the 17th tee into the middle of the fairway and makes par. He must be trying to pad his driving statistics. That's five hit fairways for the day.

4:52 p.m.: The good, bad and ugly for Woods at the par-5 16th. His drive sails into the trees right of the fairway, his 3-wood second shot travels some 260 yards, his short approach lands 40 feet past the hole and he makes the putt. Textbook birdie.

4:36 p.m.: Woods makes par at the 15th hole. In other news, Adam Scott, the boss of Woods' former caddie, is tied for second place at 5 under. Not sure Woods has noticed, or cares.

4:28 p.m.: The magic runs out for Woods at the 14th after his approach sails long and into a bunker. His 13-footer misses the left edge for his first bogey of the day.

4:23 p.m.: Woods splits the fairway at the 14th hole. It's the first time since the fourth hole.

4:15 p.m.: Another missed fairway and green for Woods but he scrambles for par at No. 13. It's worth noting that Darren Clarke, dubbed the 'Dungannon Canon' after the small Northern Irish village where he grew up, has consistently been 20 to 30 yards behind Woods all day.

4:04 p.m.: Par at the 12th hole for Woods. As he comes off the green a small boys yells, 'It's good to have you back Tiger.' At 2 under, Woods was probably thinking the same thing.

3:54 p.m.: Woods birdies his second consecutive hole at the 11th and the Ohio galleries cheer loudly, which is odd considering that this area isn't too fond of the last star athlete to take his talents to South Beach (Fla.). Woods recently moved into his south Florida home.

3:41 p.m.: Woods' approach at the 10th hole rolls to 5 feet and he makes the putt for his first Tour birdie in four months. He's 1 under for the round.

3:28 p.m.: Woods turned in even-par 35 thanks to a 20-footer for par at No. 9 following a wayward drive and a roping approach. For the side, he hit just two fairways and five greens in regulation.

3:09 p.m.: Not a lot for the large galleries following Woods to cheer about but Darren Clarke did his part at the par-4 eighth hole. From the middle of the fairway the Ulsterman holed his second shot for an eagle. Woods scrambled for par. All square.

3:03 p.m.: Two-putt par on the seventh hole for Woods. In a related item, fill-in caddie Bryon Bell has not thrown a camera or dropped one club in a pond. Progress by any measure.

2:53 p.m.: It's becoming a familiar theme, drive in the (right) rough, approach wide, two-putt par at the sixth. Not a bad plan for Atlanta Athletic Club next week but not the best formula at a soft Firestone layout.

2:40 p.m.: Woods rifles his tee shot to 8 feet at No. 5 but misses the birdie putt. He's still looking for his first birdie since the 15th hole on Sunday at Augusta National.

2:30 p.m.: Woods hits the fairway at the fourth, his approach shot to 11 feet but misses the birdie putt. Still, he's seven strokes ahead of the pace he had on the front nine at May's Players Championship (42).

2:18 p.m.: Despite a nasty mud ball from the fairway, Woods scrambled for a par at the third with a 25-foot putt. Even par through three holes.

2:09 p.m.: Woods hits the fairway at the third with a 3-wood, his first hit fairway on Tour since May.

2:05 p.m.: Woods two-putts for pedestrian par at the par-5 second hole. In an unrelated topic the sun has come out and the temperature has soared. Good warm-up for next week in Atlanta at the PGA Championship.

1:53 p.m.: Woods is 2-for-2 for the day. Two tee shots, two fairway bunkers (right at No. 2).

1:51 p.m.: Woods completes a lenthy two-putt for par at the first. Darren Clarke makes bogey. Woods 1 up. 

1:47 p.m.: Funny moment early on Thursday. Interim caddie Bryon Bell finishes raking the fairway bunker at the first and a fan yells, 'Good job, new guy.'

1:40 p.m.: Opening tee shot sails into the right bunker. Doesn't mean much, his first tee shot last year went in the left rough (T-78) and his opening effort sailed right in 2009 (won by four strokes).

1:34 p.m.: Warm-up over. Interesting that Woods completed his practice with a 3-wood. Best guess: it's 3-wood off the first tee. 

1:25 p.m.: Interesting e-mail from the world golf ranking folks. Says Lee Westwood needs a win at Firestone to overtake Luke Donald atop the ranking. No word on what Woods needs to do to slip past No. 27 in the world.

1:20 p.m.: Whether it's the extended layoff or just the need for more 'reps,' Woods put in extra time on the practice tee early Thursday, starting his putting routine more than an hour before his 1:40 p.m. tee time.