Tiger Woods lamented his lack of luck and misfires with the putter after posting an error-filled first-round 78 at the 150th Open Championship.
Woods, who missed the US Open, spoke enthusiastically of the Old Course in the build-up to the final Major of the season at St Andrews, where he won two of his three Claret Jugs, but the 46-year-old was not stuck despite of favorable conditions. conditions on Thursday.
Cameron Young shot the lowest round of the day with his 8-under 64, while Rory McIlroy is two shots behind after finishing 6-under.
However, Woods struggled with the pace of the greens and never recovered from a double bogey on the first hole, where he found the burn protecting the green after his tee shot stuck in a fairway hole.
The 15-time major winner was honest in his assessment after his round, admitting his short game left a lot to be desired.
“It was probably the highest score I could have gotten. I didn’t get off to a great start,” he told reporters.
“I hit a good tee shot down, ended up right in the middle of a fresh chop and hit a good shot, the wind gusts hit it and I ended up in the burn, and I started with a six.
“I think I had maybe four or five 3-pointers today. I just wasn’t very good on the greens and every putt I came up short.
“I had trouble hitting the putts hard enough. They seemed faster than they were putting in, and I struggled with that. You really don’t have as much control here. They were fast.”
“The greens were very firm but slow and it’s an interesting combination, we weren’t exactly speed demons either.
“The whole round took a long time, and they were waving at us. And it was a long, slow day.”
In fact, Woods’ round took over six hours alongside Max Homa and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, with the trio starting at 14:59 BST and finishing at 21:07.
While Woods reiterated his disappointment with his putt, he insists the luck factor has balanced out throughout his career.
“In a round, sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and never seems to come back, no matter how hard you fight,” he added.
“Then I compounded the problems, like I said, with my poor speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the right places a couple of times, missed some good late putts, missed the right angles and blew it.”
“I think just the total score [was a disappointment]. He feels like it really didn’t hit him that bad. Yeah, he had bad speed on the greens, yeah.
“But I didn’t really feel like I hit it that bad, but I ended up in bad spots, or just some weird stuff happened and that’s the way it is. Links is like that and this golf course is like that.”
Despite a frustrating return to the home of golf, Woods enjoyed playing at St Andrews once again, where he says the walk was less difficult than in the other two majors he has played this year.
“It was a lot easier today, physically, than the other two events, for sure,” said Woods, who nearly saw the end of his career after sustaining multiple leg injuries in a car accident in February 2021.
“All things considered, where I’ve been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it early in the year, late last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the main championships between then and now, which was great.
“But this was always on the schedule to be good enough to play it and I am, I just didn’t do a good job!”
Woods faces an uphill task to make the weekend cut in what could be his last appearance at St Andrews at The Open, but he knows what will be required on Friday.
“Looks like I’m going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to stand a chance,” he continued. “So obviously it’s been done. The guys did it today.”
“That’s my responsibility tomorrow, to go ahead and do it, I need to do it.”