The world of golf since Tiger's last PGA Tour round


BETHESDA, Md. – Tiger Woods began his round on Wednesday playing like an 18 handicap, but finished like a guy who is ready to resume his pursuit of 18 major championships.

As soft openings go, Woods’ pro-am round on Wednesday at the Quicken Loans National was pretty much what one would expect, some not-so-pretty shots (like his opening effort at No. 10 that found a water hazard) followed by some keepers (he hit eight of nine greens in regulation to close his effort).

As is the case on most Tour Wednesdays, however, the only thing that was proven was that he can walk 18 holes and remain upright.

“Generally it feels good,” Woods said. “I hit some loose shoots today but I also hit some really good ones. (But) the back feels great which is a really good sign.”

There were shots from Congressional’s thick rough, long walks over hills and through valleys and plenty of chances to test a back that was surgically overhauled on March 31 for a pinched nerve.

Tiger Tracker: Hole-by-hole tweets from Tiger's pro-am

As far as his game, well, those answers will have to wait for Thursday’s opener and beyond. In fact, the first two days of Tiger’s return have felt more like orientation for a guy who has been disconnected from the Tour since he signed his card on March 3 at Doral.

With that in mind, we offer a CliffsNotes version of the last 4 1/2 months to help the former world No. 1 acclimate his way onto the circuit.

In the 15 weeks since Woods last walked a Tour fairway:

Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted two U.S. Opens on a dead golf course.

Ben Crane won the FedEx St. Jude Classic without making a birdie over his last 29 holes.

Kevin Streelman won the Travelers Championship without making a par over his last seven holes.

Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush was named a host venue of the Open Championship for the first time since 1951. In an unrelated item, caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan looped in back-to-back Opens and was born three years before that last turn at Royal Portrush.

Adam Scott became world No. 1, got married and, by the looks of his galleries, has only gotten better looking.

Phil Mickelson went from pursuing the career Grand Slam to facing a potential date with a grand jury.

Hideki Matsuyama won a playoff at the Memorial Tournament that Kevin Na is still playing.

TPC Sawgrass killed the grass on many of its greens and still hosted The Players.

Lucy Li was born and played in a major championship.

Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open and became the first major champion to twerk in her victory celebration.

Keegan Bradley went to a shorter putter.

Bradley went back to a longer putter.

Erik Compton needed 38 holes to qualify for the U.S. Open and 72 more holes to become the feel-good story of the summer.

Jack Nicklaus complained about how far today’s players are hitting the golf ball.

Nicklaus complained about how far today’s players are hitting the golf ball.

Nicklaus complained about how far today’s players are hitting the golf ball.

Patrick Reed became a father but not a top-5 player.

Woods didn’t play a hole and is still, narrowly, a top-5 player.

Martin Kaymer won a major (U.S. Open) and a faux major (The Players) and is not a top-5 player.

And the golf world has anxiously waited for Tiger’s return.

Welcome back.