Tiger Woods hit just two drivers on Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club – and only 3-woods on the layout’s par 5s, a first for the world No. 1 – but that doesn’t diminish his best tee-to-green performance of the year.
Woods hit 13 of 14 fairways in Round 1 – the same number, by the by, he hit for his final three rounds at the PGA Championship, combined – and was tied for first in driving accuracy, a rare accomplishment even before the onset of the great slump of 2010.
“With (lift, clean and place) it's more important to hit the ball in the fairway, and even if I had some 3-, 4-irons into the greens it really didn't matter,” said Woods, whose only missed fairway came at the third hole and even that was by just two paces.
“The greens were soft. On top of that 7-iron out of the rough, guys aren't going to be able to get the ball on the greens. It's too rough and too wet and thick. I went with a more conservative approach just because it's ball in hand and the greens are as soft as they are.”
To put Woods’ driving performance in context, Thursday was his best day off the tee since the final round of last year’s Memorial when he went a perfect 14-for-14 at Muirfield Village, where he easily paced the field it’s worth noting.