Tiger looks healthy, plays well at Tavistock

Team Isleworth's Bubba Watson, left, and Team Albany's Tiger Woods laugh at the announcer's joke as they wait to tee off at the first tee during the two-day Tavistock Cup.

Team Isleworth's Bubba Watson, left, and Team Albany's Tiger Woods laugh at the announcer's joke as they wait to tee off at the first tee during the two-day Tavistock Cup.

Scores »

RBC Heritage

Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

11:02:21 PM ET. 04/17/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
T1Matt Kuchar-5F-5
T1Scott Langley-5F-5
T1William McGirt-5F-5
4Harris English-3F-3
T5Russell Knox-2F-2
Complete Leaderboard »

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Leave it to funnyman David Feherty to put the first day of the Tavistock Cup into the proper context.

When a supposedly rehabbing Tiger Woods hammered a drive down the first fairway Monday at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Feherty, emceeing the annual made-for-TV exhibition, cracked: “Well, nothing fell off him.”

What a difference eight days made. When last we saw Woods on a golf course, on March 11 at Doral, he needed a cart to make it to the parking lot, he slipped into a black Mercedes, he cracked open the window and he gave a PGA Tour official a two-word answer: left leg. Later, in a statement released by his camp, he clarified: left Achilles.

Oh, that left Achilles. The same left Achilles that Tiger injured during the third round of the 2011 Masters. The same left Achilles that forced him to miss two majors last season.

Predictably, the reaction two Sundays ago ranged from the absurd (He could be out for the season!) to the understated (It’s just a precaution!). A day after the WD, Tiger tweeted that he received good news from the doctor, that it was just a mild strain, and said he would be able to hit balls later in the week. He did on Friday, and pronounced himself fit to continue his 2012 season. Rarely is there a dull week with Tiger.

On Monday, at the ninth annual Tavistock Cup, Albany’s most famous team member took some injury-related ribbing from Feherty. That was to be expected.

“Many of us arrived here in a helicopter,” the gregarious CBS/Golf Channel personality said. “He came here in an ambulance.”

Woods keeled over and had a good laugh, as did the few hundred fans huddled around the first tee. Ten minutes later, after a perfect drive and a razor-sharp iron shot, he tapped in from 2 feet for an opening birdie. Cancel the career obituary.

It’s dangerous to overanalyze an exhibition round. The score he and partner Justin Rose shot in the best-ball format (9-under 63, with Woods making six birdies on his own ball) is insignificant. The best players in the world should make birdies when the pressure is minimal, the stakes low.

But don’t underestimate what we saw from Woods on Monday. He wore the same natural-motion Nike shoes that he had pre-Achilles scare. He walked without a limp. He never flinched at impact, never grimaced after a tee shot. He looked, well, normal -- which is about the best thing you can say during this, his final week of competition before the Masters.

“I did the smart thing and the prudent thing this time, not trying to play through it,” Woods said afterward. “Hence, I’m back here as fast as I am.”

It’s important to remember this was only Day 1 of seven consecutive days of competition. Starting Thursday, he will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, an event he has won six times. Woods looked fine on Monday, but how will his brittle body be holding up on Saturday, or on Sunday? Will he feel his Achilles then?

The fact that he’s even attempting to play this week answers that question, resoundingly. You don’t risk injury with the Masters now two weeks away.

Bubba Watson, who played in Woods’ group on Monday, said Tiger’s injury will do nothing to diminish his chances at the first major of the year. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world, the best person I’ve ever seen play,” Watson said. “So yeah, as long as he gets his putter going, he’s going to be dominant any time he plays.”

Click resume. The Race to Augusta is back on.

• • • 

Here is how Tiger's round unfolded on Monday (information compiled by the Golfweek staff):

18th hole: Par 4, 440 yards

Tiger uses 3-wood off the tee and smacks it up the right side of the fairway.

With 9-iron in hand, Tiger puts a bit too much on his approach shot and goes over the green.

Tiger gets some relief from the grandstands and plays a nice chip to about five feet for his par. Rose makes his par first and the group finishes at 9 under, the same as Watson and Howell III.

Team Albany: 9 under

• • •

17th hole: Par 3, 198 yards

Tiger plays the best tee ball of the group, with the ball running up the green to pin-high about about eight feet to the right of the flag.

Tiger can't get the putt to fall and the team settles for a par.

Team Albany: 9 under

• • •

16th hole: Par 4, 461 yards

Tiger is looking good off the tee, blistering another drive at the lengthy par 4. He rolls out into the right rough, but is sitting up nicely.

Sore leg or not, Tiger hasn't been too far behind Bubba Watson all day. Maybe 10 yards difference, which is pretty good when it comes to Bubba.

Tiger plays a nice approach shot to about 25 feet past the hole. Neither Tiger nor Rose can get in for par and they drop a shot.

Team Albany: 9 under

• • •

15th hole: Par 5, 578 yards

Tiger hammers a drive at the final par 5 of the day, giving his driver a twirl after impact.

Tiger goes after the green in two and comes up a bit short of the green. But that is no problem for Woods, who pitches to about 18 inches and picks up another birdie.

Team Albany: 10 under

• • •

14th hole: Par 4, 345 yards

Tiger attacks the green off the tee and goes right and over the cart path. His chip shot back to the green comes up woefully short.

He'll need to get up-and-down to avoid his first bogey of the day. The team settles for a par to stay at 9 under.

Team Albany: 9 under

• • •

13th hole: Par 3, 152 yards

Tiger takes aim at the dangerous hole location - in the front and just over the water guarding the front - and lands it pin-high, about 12 feet to the left.

Tiger misses the putt but taps in for a par.

Team Albany: 9 under

• • •

12th hole: Par 4, 418 yards

Tiger goes into the right rough off the tee, leaving himself about 150 yards to the pin. He pushes his approach shot to the right and into a greenside bunker, where he'll have a tough up-and-down.

He nearly holes out the bunker shot as the ball runs by on the left and settles about six feet away.

The team settles for a par to stay at 8 under.

Team Albany: 8 under

• • •

11th hole: Par 5, 582 yards

Tiger hits the middle of the fairway at the par 5 and takes 3-wood with his approach and puts it in a waste bunker to the left of the green.

Bent down a bit in the bunker - trees were right above his head - Tiger plays a beautiful shot to about eight inches for a tap-in birdie.

Team Albany: 8 under

• • •

10th hole: Par 4, 441 yards

Tiger hits his tee ball into the left rough, but recovers with a fantastic shot into the pin at the front, leaving himself about six feet for yet another birdie.

Tiger doesn't even have to use his putter, as partner Justin Rose rolls in a slightly longer birdie putt.

Team Albany: 7 under

• • •

9th hole: Par 5, 534 yards

Tiger bombs a drive down the right side of the fairway and plays a cut into the green with his approach, but it goes long and into the intermediate cut of rough on the back of the green.

From about 45 feet, Tiger hits a nice lag to about two feet, but doesn't need to putt after Justin Rose makes a birdie first.

Though he's not walking like the Terminator down the fairways, Tiger hasn't shown one sign of discomfort with the Achilles, and that's a good sign for Woods.

Team Albany: 6 under

• • •

8th hole: Par 4, 431 yards

Tiger finds the right side of the fairway off the tee and plays a three-quarters wedge shot just over the flag and about 10 feet past the hole.

The hole location fooled all four players, with only one player actually hitting the green. Tiger two-putts for a par and is 4 under on his own ball thru 8 holes.

Team Albany: 5 under

• • •

7th hole: Par 4, 434 yards

After Justin Rose goes into the water on the right, Tiger plays his drive to the left and into the rough.

From about 200 yards out, Tiger hits 8-iron to about six feet for another look at birdie.

With a large gallery surrounding the green, Tiger drains another birdie putt - his fourth of the day.

Team Albany: 5 under

• • •

6th hole: Par 3, 209 yards

Tiger hits his first errant shot of the day, challenging the tucked pin in the back.

With a tricky chip, Tiger nearly holes it out and leaves about four feet for a par.

He doesn't need to putt after his partner, Justin Rose, drains a 40-foot birdie putt to move the team to 4 under.

Team Albany: 4 under (tied with Queenwood for the lead)

• • •

5th hole: Par 4, 359 yards

Tiger's Achilles must be feeling ok, running up to the tee box at the 5th hole. And his swing is looking pretty good too, putting his tee shot over the green at the driveable par 4.

He chips to tap-in range for his third birdie in the opening five holes.

Team Albany: 3 under

• • •

4th hole: Par 3, 196 yards

Tiger is getting around pretty nicely and hits the 4th green in regulation, but watches his 22-footer slide by and he has to settle for a par.

Team Albany: 2 under; Team Isleworth: 1 under

• • •

3rd hole: Par 4, 451 yards

Tiger finds the rough off the tee and can't stop his approach shot on the green, finding the back intermediate rough. He gets up-and-down for a par.

Team Albany: 2 under; Team Isleworth: 1 under

• • •

Second hole: Par 5, 563 yards

Tiger picks up a second-straight birdie to open his round, vaulting Team Albany to an early advantage.

• • •

First hole: Par 4, 418 yards

Tiger starts the morning with a perfect drive and then a pristine approach shot to about two feet. Tiger taps in for birdie to start the day in the red.

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification

  • PGA
  • CHMP
  • WEB
[[PGAtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[CHMPtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[NWIDtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next