SAN DIEGO – Five things you need to know about Tiger Woods’ first competitive round of 2011:
1.) Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways on Thursday. Obviously, not a good performance off the tee. However, there’s a couple reasons that number is not as bad as it first seems.
The fairways on the North course are extremely narrow. We’re talking U.S. Open width. Also, Woods wasn’t hesitant to use driver on the narrow fairways. He pulled it out on Nos. 15 and 16 consecutive par-4s under 400 yards. He also nearly drove the par-4 second hole. His ball ended up in the rough, but it was in a good position, setting up an easy birdie.
2.) Woods was bogey-free, a good sign on a course with such lush rough. On the par-4, 15th, he had wedge in his hands, but couldn’t reach the green with his shot from the rough. Woods hit 14 greens Thursday.
3.) His shot of the day? A long-iron to 3 feet on the 214-yard, par-3 12th hole that set up an easy birdie. His ball was on line the whole way, rolling toward the hole before stopping just short. Woods also birdied the 212-yard, par-3 sixth hole.
4.) Woods played the North Course’s short par-5s in even par, mostly because of his inaccuracy with the driver. All four of the course’s par-5s are reachable for Woods. The longest is 547 yards. The other three measure less than 530 yards.
5.) All three members of Thursday’s featured group broke par. Anthony Kim scrambled to a 68 to nip Woods by one. Mediate, whose caddied carried a Bel-Air Country Club stand bag, shot 71. Kim’s 68 included this wild stretch. He holed a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 11, chipped in for par on the next hole and then holed a 10-foot par putt from the fringe on the 13th. Kim had just 20 putts Thursday. He hit just three fairways.