Tiger's Putter Lets Him Down On Thursday

Lawrence Cooper
May 4, 2018

Woods wasn't sure what to make of the Masters except that his irons were off. This was drastically different though, because the only club he was fighting was his putter, which did cooperate on a 27.5-foot birdie on No. 8 that sent a large roar through the crowd.

Tiger Woods had an up and down day as he shot an even par 71 today. He birdied three holes, bogeyed three others, all to end up right where he'd began. Then, putting from 73 feet on the fringe of the 17th green, Woods made it just three-quarters of the way to the hole.

"They are on the slower side". The greens aren't quite as fast as I remember but they are more hard.

Woods will be chasing only his second victory at Quail Hollow after winning the title in 2007. Warner, who is from Charlotte, said he's happy to see Woods back in his hometown.

"I've got to get the ball on the fairway here". Even on Sunday when I shot four-under par, I was in some tough spots. "Now I'm just trying to get a little better". The same thing happened again at the long par 5 on No. 10, and then again at No. 16.

While Woods will consume most attention, fans with an eye on the future could do worse than watch Joaquin Niemann.

"I've sensed it since I started playing this year", Woods said. "I make a couple of putts and I'm 2 or 3 under par, which is fine".

That's what Charlotte, and the rest of the golf world, is looking for this weekend.

It may not appear it on first glance, but actually fairly well.

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Woods took a small step back at Augusta National when he misfired with his iron play, didn't break par until the final round and tied for 32nd. While John Peterson finished the day at 6 under after Woods had finished, Woods made a point that remains true - he's still right in the thick of this. "We're gonna go to the putting green and regroup and hopefully get better with the putter".

The highlights of Woods' outing were holes seven and eight. Three major championships, starting with the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, are played in a nine-week span. Nor for Patrick Reed, the reigning Masters champion.

But Woods clawed his way around the hard track in Thursday's sun-splashed first round to stay in touch with the leaders.

And no, maybe those fans didn't get a full round of vintage Tiger Woods ... but they did get glimpses. Or even if he makes enough money to keep his card?

Woods said Wednesday the demanding 7,442-yard par-72 layout had grown more challenging in his absence. "And I had defensive putts on most of the days". He figured he would have shot two or three under par if he could have understood Quail Hollow's greens better.

But while Woods' score may have been OK, it wasn't something he felt satisfied with.

The course set-up this week will be more forgiving than it was when Thomas won last August, with more grass around the greens expected to offer better lies for chip shots.

And then came a question that caused Woods to flash his signature smile: When are you heading to the putting green? "And now I'm out here playing against these guys".

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