Well, that was an eventful Thursday from Tiger Woods.
The four-time PGA champion seemed to doom his chances after a bogey-double bogey start but would rebound incredibly with four birdies to fire a solid even-par 70. He’s just five back at the moment and still right in this through 18 holes.
We followed his opening round, shot by shot, below:
Hole No. 9: Par 4, 440 yards
OFF THE TEE (1:48 p.m. ET): This driving iron is a little left but turns out just fine. That catches the very left edge of the fairway and he’ll have a good look into the green from there.
APPROACH SHOT (1:56 p.m. ET): Well, Tiger hangs this out to the right and this finishes about 30 feet right of the pin on a lower level. Actually not the simplest two-putt, but if Tiger manages … he escapes with a 70.
ON THE GREEN (2:02 p.m. ET): He cozies this up to a foot and closes out with par. That was a heck of a 70 on a day where he could’ve easily headed to a 75 or worse after that start.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even-par 70 (T-29)
Hole No. 8: Par 5, 610 yards
OFF THE TEE (1:25 p.m. ET): That is drilled down the left-center of the fairway. That carry is 290 yards and this goes about 300 overall. This hole doglegs left early, so Tiger should be able to go for this in two (it will be a lonnnng second shot, though).
APPROACH SHOT (1:36 p.m. ET): After a long wait for the green to clear, Tiger hits a 3-wood that he likes but the ball is just a little too far left. That just lands on the left edge of the green and bounds into a bunker. Maybe a yard or two right and he’s on the green and putting for eagle. Tiger looked frustrated after that ended up missing the green. Still, he can absolutely still get up and down for birdie.
AROUND THE GREEN (1:42 p.m. ET): That actually stayed in the rough above the bunker, which isn’t a bad break. Woods chips from well above his feet and catches it well, but this ball trundles about 10 feet past the cup. Not bad, though. Still a great chance at birdie.
ON THE GREEN (1:45 p.m. ET): There it is! He buries that and what a battle this has been to get back to even par. He was 3 over through two and almost 4 over through eight. Man, this has been a spectacular grind.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even par through 17 (T-29)
Hole No. 7: Par 4, 402 yards
OFF THE TEE (1:11 p.m. ET): That’s a driving iron perfectly down the left-center of the fairway. That’s ideal and leaves a short iron at most in.
APPROACH SHOT (1:17 p.m. ET): Not Tiger’s best with a sand wedge. This comes up a good 30 feet short of the cup. Should be another easy par, but that’s a missed opportunity to go at this flag and have a great birdie chance.
ON THE GREEN (1:20 p.m. ET): A good effort from there, but that left-to-righter just ran out of steam late and misses right and low a few inches. The ball hit something with about 5 feet to go that could’ve stopped it. But that might’ve been right and low regardless. Easy par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 16 (T-34)
Hole No. 6: Par 3, 224 yards
OFF THE TEE (12:59 p.m. ET): That’s his first poor swing in a bit, as this one hooks left and into a collection area over the green. Kind of a big miss but not too bad a position from there. A pretty awkward pitch ensues over a knob, so the up and down is tricky. It’s far from impossible over there, though.
AROUND THE GREEN (1:06 p.m. ET): That was pretty. Plays a high, spinny pitch that lands about 6-7 feet below the cup, hops and stops quickly 3-4 feet from the cup. Should be another nice par save. As we said, that shot wasn’t easy over that knob. But Tiger made it look like it was.
ON THE GREEN (1:09 p.m. ET): That one drops in the left side of the cup. Another nifty up and down. This is the best his short game has looked in some time. He’s had some absolutely fantastic saves today.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 15 (T-35)
Hole No. 5: Par 4, 475 yards
OFF THE TEE (12:40 p.m. ET): That driver was absolutely perfect. Basically dead-center and about 300 yards out there. That is ideal, and really his second solid driver today.
APPROACH SHOT (12:46 p.m. ET): A good birdie look coming up. Tiger gets this one to land about 10 feet right and just beyond pin-high and it essentially sticks there. About 12 feet for birdie, and doesn’t look like too tough a putt either.
ON THE GREEN (12:51 p.m. ET): That was just not a good putt. Looked like a push and that one was always right and goes by about two feet. A good opportunity missed. Still, easy par. He’s also played 2-under golf since his horrible start.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 14 (T-36)
Hole No. 4: Par 4, 503 yards
OFF THE TEE (12:23 p.m. ET): The driver for the first time in a while … and this one is a little left but he won’t be too bad off. That looked to finish in the rough, but an OK lie there and he won’t have any problems with that angle and what he has left.
APPROACH SHOT (12:30 p.m. ET): The lie wasn’t ideal at all, and Tiger hits a low one that squirts out a bit right and into the front bunker. It rolled in, so his lie should be fine and he shouldn’t be on a downslope. He is short-sided to a front-right pin, but not a really difficult up and down if it’s a clean lie in a flat spot.
AROUND THE GREEN (12:33 p.m. ET): From Tiger’s reaction, he didn’t like the lie. Couldn’t see what he disliked about it, but he regroups quickly and blasts this about 4-5 feet beyond the cup. Nice shot, and a good chance to save par.
ON THE GREEN (12:37 p.m. ET): He buries that one. Tiger has been so solid on those short putts today. He’s hanging in there for sure.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 13 (T-35)
Hole No. 3: Par 3, 153 yards
OFF THE TEE (12:14 p.m. ET): A tiny bit left for Tiger, but that is expert course management. This one lands and finishes flag-high, about 20 feet left of the flag. Good play there.
ON THE GREEN (12:20 p.m. ET): A good line but not enough speed. This comes up inches short. A nice roll at that one, another easy par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 12 (T-37)
Hole No. 2: Par 4, 407 yards
OFF THE TEE (12:01 p.m. ET): An iron here for Tiger and this is a beauty down the right-center of the fairway. That is great right there. Water down the left, so smart play too.
APPROACH SHOT (12:06 p.m. ET): That was right at the flag but just a little long. This ball lands about 18 feet beyond the pin and stays there. That finishes on top of a ridge, leaving a very fast putt downhill to the hole. With a pin just over water, you can’t blame Tiger for going a little long. Leaves an interesting putt, but should be par at worst.
ON THE GREEN (12:08 p.m. ET): That was way too slippery a putt to get aggressive with. This is a nice lag that finishes online about a foot short of the cup. Easy two-putt par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 11 (T-37)
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 422 yards
OFF THE TEE (11:45 a.m. ET): A driving iron for TW, and this is a nice lower draw that finishes in the left-center of the fairway. Nice work there.
APPROACH SHOT (11:51 a.m. ET): Another great approach. Tiger gives the signal for this one to get down, but there’s no need. This one from 149 yards lands below the hole and spins and rolls to about 10 feet under the far-right pin. That’ll leave a great look at back-to-back birdies.
ON THE GREEN (11:57 a.m. ET): BOOM! That looked like it might miss left, but that takes a big right turn with 2 feet to go and drops dead-center. Tiger was standing over a 5-footer less than an hour ago to avoid being 4 over. He’s now +1. This has been quite a turnaround on a day when his swing and play has been erratic.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 10 (T-37)
Hole No. 18: Par 4, 467 yards
OFF THE TEE (11:28 a.m. ET): A 3-wood for Tiger, and he likes it. This one finishes in the right-center of the fairway. Ideal. A little farther back of course, but it still shouldn’t be much more than a mid-iron in.
APPROACH SHOT (11:33 a.m. ET): That was beautiful! Tiger launches this one right at the flag, it lands 2-3 feet away and barely moves forward and finishes 4 feet beyond the cup. a fantastic chance to birdie and go out in 2-over 37.
ON THE GREEN (11:40 a.m. ET): He smoothes that one right in. Considering how he played that nine, he’s stealing coming out of there with a 2-over 37.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over through 9 (T-54)
Hole No. 17: Par 5, 591 yards
OFF THE TEE (11:08 a.m. ET): That was close to being good with the driver, but it lands on the extreme left side of the fairway and kicks left into a fairway bunker. Looks like it’s in middle of the bunker and a fine lie, but this will almost certainly necessitate a lay up.
SECOND SHOT (11:12 a.m. ET): The ball actually sat down a little, for sure putting TW into a lay up. He irons one out of here and this is just perfect down the fairway. A short iron or wedge for his third.
THIRD SHOT (11:17 a.m. ET): Another miserable shot. This wedge from 129 yards flies short right into a front bunker. So far, this is a clinic in how not to contend at a major. Tiger’s swing looks terrible, just totally out of sync. He’s honestly done well to just be 3 over, that’s how poorly it’s going.
AROUND THE GREEN (11:20 a.m. ET): Well, that was pretty good. That bunker shot was not easy at all, well below the green and not a lot of surface to work with. Woods lands this about 5 feet below the pin, and it just misses the hole on the right and runs 5 feet by. A good chance to save par, almost a must-make even this early.
ON THE GREEN (11:24 a.m. ET): He buries that one. A nice par save there. He’s really grinding to stay in this. You’d think his goal is somehow to get back to even par by day’s end, but that’s not happening unless his swing issues mostly go away as this round continues.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 over through 8 (T-64)
Hole No. 16: Par 3, 241 yards
OFF THE TEE (10:56 a.m. ET): That swing was AWFUL. A pull hook that misses the green left by a good 20 yards. Flies into the gallery and appeared to kick right toward a grandstand. Considering the quality of the strike, this could be worse. But still, this will leave another brutally difficult up and down for TW.
AROUND THE GREEN (11:01 a.m. ET): Tiger had to drop from a grandstand (TIO) and he hates the lie, as this plops down. And this is no good. This is maybe a yard or two from landing on the green and getting within 15 feet of the cup. But it lands in the rough and stays there. No good. The ensuing chip wasn’t hard, and Tiger shows it as he plops this 6 inches from the cup. So it’s only a bogey, but it’s a bogey nonetheless.
ON THE GREEN (11:03 a.m. ET): Indeed, a bogey. Back to 3 over.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 over through 7 (T-69)
Hole No. 15: Par 4, 489 yards
OFF THE TEE (10:37 a.m. ET): This is no good. Driver here for Tiger and this one is wayyy left. It actually gets well into the gallery and maybe even more left. Unless he gets really lucky, he’s going to have to lay up from there.
APPROACH SHOT (10:43 a.m. ET): Tiger actually did get pretty lucky, as he could get to the green by hitting a nice hook from an interesting lie. But he overhooked it from there and this crashes into trees a good 50 yards short of the green at least. Not sure where that ended up, but he’ll need an unbelievable up and down to save par.
AROUND THE GREEN (10:47 a.m. ET): What a fantastic shot! Tiger had 70 yards, a terrible angle to a tucked left pin and had to keep this a little down under trees. Somehow it just gets through the trees, just carries a front bunker, lands on the edge of the green 10 feet below the hole and rolls about 5 feet past the cup. That is a 10/10 from there. This would be an incredible par save.
ON THE GREEN (10:51 a.m. ET): Walked it right in! That was an absolutely incredible par save, and he smiles after draining that one. He knows he got away with one. By the way, the putt was pure the whole way, started it outside the cup on the right and it curves back in the right-center of the cup.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over through 6 (T-56)
Hole No. 14: Par 4, 400 yards
OFF THE TEE (10:21 a.m. ET): That is a low driving iron that turns out beautifully. Ball lands in the left-center of the fairway and trundles about 20 yards forward and a bit left to finish in the left side of the fairway. He’ll have a short iron or wedge approach in from there.
APPROACH SHOT (10:28 a.m. ET): That was just OK. Tiger hangs this just a bit too far right to get this left of a ridge that funnels the ball toward the flag. With the ball landing right of the ridge, it moves away from the hole as it spins back. Overall, Tiger leaves himself about 30 feet right and below the hole for birdie. That shouldn’t hurt him, but he was definitely looking for better.
ON THE GREEN (10:31 a.m. ET): That was not his best effort. This one comes up a good two feet short and left. Never had a chance. But he taps in for a simple par. Tiger has looked more at ease in the last three holes after appearing awful in the opening two.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over through 5 (T-61)
Hole No. 13: Par 3, 190 yards
OFF THE TEE (10:10 a.m. ET): OK, Tiger seems to be back in sync. That’s a nice shot in there, as Tiger hits one about about 15 feet left of the pin about pin-high. This pin was perched just over a ridge in back and Tiger gets it on that level. A nice shot and a decent birdie look.
ON THE GREEN (10:16 a.m. ET): That one was always left. Feel like that was a bit of a misread. But that leaves him a tap-in par. It’s his first par of the day and there’s nothing wrong with that tap-in.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over through 4 (T-55)
Hole No. 12: Par 4, 451 yards
OFF THE TEE (9:58 a.m. ET): A driver … and this is beautiful right down the center of the fairway. About 300 yards. That was much needed after what he did in the first two holes.
APPROACH SHOT (10:03 a.m. ET): Tiger changed shirts on this hole, and well that seemed to do the trick! From 138 yards, Tiger absolutely stuffs this one. Lands it about 5 feet beyond the pin and it spins within a foot of the cup. This will be a kick-in birdie!
ON THE GREEN (10:06 a.m. ET): And we’re on the board! A nice tap-in birdie and that helps blunt an awful start at least a bit.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 over through 3 (T-52)
Hole No. 11: Par 4, 362 yards
OFF THE TEE (9:44 a.m. ET): That’s a low stinger with a driving iron, and that’s a low pulled draw into the left rough. Uhh yeah, Tiger does not look *great* so far. If his lie is OK, he has a good angle at this pin. But that pin is tucked right over water, so that’s a sucker one to go at from the rough. He’ll likely play this approach a bit safe and left of the pin.
APPROACH SHOT (9:48 a.m. ET): And this start is a disaster. Tiger comes up short from the rough here and this hits on a slope and bounds into the water. We’re now looking at a bogey-bogey start at best. Odd that this one was online with the pin, kind of way too aggressive there considering his position. More likely that he pushed that one, as Tiger is pretty good at course management.
FOURTH SHOT (9:51 a.m. ET): Well, that’s just OK from the drop zone. Probably about a 60-yard shot that sees Tiger land it about 10-15 feet past, bound forward and spin back a little. About 15 feet beyond the cup for bogey. Tiger very well could be 3 over through two.
ON THE GREEN (9:53 a.m. ET): Nope. That one misses low and right. He taps in for double bogey. A BRUTAL start. Quite similar to what we saw early at the U.S. Open. He better get this turned around quick.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 over through 2 (T-54)
Hole No. 10: Par 4, 508 yards
OFF THE TEE (9:28 a.m. ET): A bit of a delay on the tee, but Tiger is off. This driver is not ideal, a decent miss to the right that ends up in the rough. Seems to have gotten close to or reached the gallery over there. For a guy with such driver woes at Firestone, that wasn’t a great sign.
SECOND SHOT (9:32 a.m. ET): A horrible lie for Tiger here and all he can do is pitch out. He had 217 yards in a brutal lie having to punch to reach a green over a hazard, so he decides to punch this back into the fairway. That shot maybe went 75 yards. He’ll have a full third from 150-ish yards.
THIRD SHOT (9:35 a.m. ET): That was pretty pedestrian. Tiger had that on a good line just left of the pin, but this ball lands a good 35 feet below the hole, stops immediately and spins back a few feet. That leaves him a good 40 feet up the hill for par. An uninspiring start so far.
ON THE GREEN (9:42 a.m. ET): That first putt was pretty poor. It was on a decent line, but that comes up a good 5 feet short. The good news is he looked very solid on the remainder, as he buries that for an opening bogey. A poor start, but important that he avoided double there. That’s usually a pretty nice killer to start a major (except the 2008 U.S. Open, that is).
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over through 1 (T-29)
Tiger is currently on the putting green. He goes off at 9:23 a.m. ET, a little over an hour from now. You can see his live warmup here: