Augusta, Ga. – Returning to the Masters game after a car-threatening car crash, Tiger Woods said he thought he could win his sixth green jacket and made a few more convinced after making a tough opening 71 card on Thursday.
In his first competitive round of golf in 508 days, Woods mixed three birdies with two bogies at Augusta National to sit three behind clubhouse leader Australian Cameron Smith, who started and finished with a double bogey at four-under 68.
Although the first major of the year had all the best features of golf, there was only one man who came to see the most, Woods, the 973rd ranked player in the world.
It was a remarkable attempt by the 15-time main champion just 14 months after doctors considered the possibility of amputating his right leg in a single car accident.
“I’ve fought again and I’m exactly where I need to be to end up in the red,” Woods said. “I thought that once adrenaline came in and I was fired and I moved into my small world I should be able to run my business.”
Woods said he was ready to play with the pain and at times became noticeably lustful as he made his way around the uncomfortable layout considered one of the toughest walks on the PGA Tour.
COVID-19 After limiting the number of spectators on the ground for the past two years, the crowds have regained their strength and brought with them a familiar roar that echoes through the Georgian pines.
The thunderstorm delayed the start by 30 minutes but the dry weather did not dampen the buzz as golf fans were lucky enough to secure one of the sport’s most coveted tickets and quickly moved to some of the game’s most famous holes to survive and wait for Woods to appear.
The 46-year-old, wearing a pink shirt and black pants, had a playful face when he walked into the first tee where the entire length of the 445-yard open hole was lined with thousands of spectators.
After five purses in a row, Woods headed for about three sixth holes where his T-shot stopped two feet from the cup to set his first birdie which was followed by his first boogie in the eighth.
Even after entering Amen Corner, Woods picked up his second birdie at the age of 13 and made it through the infamous stretch hole.
Then comes another bogie at 14 but the 16th delivers vintage woods when he rolls a monster 29-foot birdie putt and celebrates with a trademark fist pump.
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