Bethesda, MD, United States (4E Sports) – Tiger Woods was rusty in his first tournament since undergoing back surgery in March, firing a 3-over-par 74 in the first round of the Quicken Loans National Thursday at Congressional Country Club.
The 14-time major champion had bogeys on seven of his first 12 holes before closing with birdies on three of his last six holes.
Woods hit nine out of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens but his mistakes were mostly around the greens.
“The score is not really indicative of how I played,” Woods said. “I had four up-and-downs right there on 15 through 18. I had an easy pick on 2, don’t get that up-and-down and a wedge in my hand on 3 and I jerk it in the bunker.”
Only once in his career has Woods shot as high as 74 and gone on to win the tournament. It happened in the 2005 Masters, when he was tied for 33rd after the first round after shooting 74.
Woods, who last played in a PGA Tour event in early March, said Thursday afternoon that the most difficult aspect of the round was getting into the rhythm of playing competitively.
“You play with your buddies all day for cash and stuff, but it’s just not the same,” he said. “It’s not the same as tournament golf, different level. Adrenaline is rushing, and I hit the ball further out here than I do at home.
“I was trying to get the numbers and the feel. That didn’t start happening until midway through my front nine,” he added.
Despite an awful start, Woods said his back felt great and was pleased to be back in competition.
“I unfortunately have been in my career on the sidelines enough,” he said. “So it’s always fun to come back out here and play against these guys, the best players in the world, and to get out here and see what I can do.”