Tiger Woods’ Mixed Opening Round at the Masters Tournament

Tiger Woods had a mixed opening round at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2023.[0] After starting with three bogeys in his first seven holes, Woods rallied with a birdie on the eighth to get to +2.[1] He managed to play even golf for the remainder of the round, but a closing bogey on the 18th compounded a frustrating afternoon for the five-time Masters champion. Despite hitting both greens and fairways in regulation, Woods' putting negated anything that brought him.

Woods was paired with Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele, getting an unfettered view of two of the best rounds of the day, Hovland's 65 and Schauffele's[2] 68. The former managed to become the leader in the clubhouse by the time their round finished, while the latter shot[0] Sixty-nine.[3]

Despite the steady start, Woods stumbled to fall far back of his playing partners, who both had a share of the lead thru four, as two bogey fives at the third and fifth saw him drop to two-over.[4] However, he almost had an eagle at the par-five eighth after his approach shot landed just short of the green, which led him to the tap-in birdie.

It wasn't until the 15th hole that Woods truly got back on track by knocking down a lengthy birdie putt with plenty of break.[5] He played the 17th perfectly, with a 303-yard drive right down the center of the fairway, and two-putted for par. Woods was then within just a few inches of an eagle at the par 5 after his approach shot landed just short of the green, which led him to the tap-in birdie.

Woods' birdie streak ended at two, but he managed to play the 17th perfectly.[6] Following a par on No. 17, Woods hit two shots into bunkers on the par-four 18th and ended up with his fifth bogey of the day.[5]

Reflecting on his overall performance, Woods said, “I didn't have very good speed early. I had two three-putts, and consequently I’m a couple over par. I didn't hit my irons close enough today. I didn't give myself very good looks. Need to do a better job of that going forward to hopefully get myself back in this tournament.”[7]

The first round of the 87th Masters saw Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka share the lead after superb rounds of seven-under-par 65s.[8] Despite suffering a double-bogey seven on the seventh, and turning in one-over 37, Rory McIlroy managed to get under par on the scorecard with birdies on the 15th and 16th, only for a wild drive down the left on the 17th to bring him back to level.[9] And, after driving into the fairway bunker on the 18th and splashing out short of the green, he managed to get up and down to save par.[10]

As Rahm put it, “If you're going to make a double or four-putt or anything, it might as well be the first hole, (since you then have) 71 holes to make it up.”[9] He remembered the legendary saying as he walked to the second tee after a four-putt of his own at the par-4 first hole.

Overall, the first round of the Masters Tournament saw some impressive performances, along with some frustrating moments for golfers such as Woods and McIlroy. As the tournament continues, fans and players alike will be eagerly watching to see who will come out on top.

0. “Tiger Woods shoots two-over 74 in first round of Masters” Fox News, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/tiger-woods-shoots-two-over-74-first-round-masters

1. “The Masters: Tiger Woods endures ‘constant' pain during turbulent first round” CNN, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/06/golf/tiger-woods-masters-first-round-spt-intl/index.html

2. “At Masters, Tiger Woods's first round shows signs of rust” The Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/04/06/tiger-woods-masters-first-round/

3. “Jon Rahm channels wrong kind of Seve, still fires 65 to open 2023 Masters” Golf Channel, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.golfchannel.com/news/jon-rahm-channels-wrong-kind-seve-still-fires-65-open-2023-masters

4. “Masters: Tiger Woods struggles in his opening round to finish two-over at Augusta National” Daily Mail, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/golf/article-11946503/Masters-Tiger-Woods-prowl-Augusta-National-tees-off.html

5. “Tiger Woods Credited by Fans for ‘Fighting His Ass Off' During Shaky 2023 Masters R1” Bleacher Report, 6 Apr. 2023, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10071470-tiger-woods-credited-by-fans-for-fighting-his-ass-off-during-shaky-2023-masters-r1

6. “Masters 2023: Tracking Tiger Woods’ 2-over opening round at Augusta National” Yahoo Sports, 6 Apr. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/masters-2023-tracking-tiger-woods-2-over-opening-round-at-augusta-national-140012137.html

7. “Tiger Woods endures mistakes, pain in first round at Augusta. Can he recapture Masters magic?” USA TODAY, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/brennan/2023/04/06/tiger-woods-augusta-2023-masters-mistakes-pain-first-round/11615099002

8. “Jon Rahm is tied for the lead at the Masters despite a double-bogey start” The Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/04/06/masters-golf-jon-rahm-first-round/

9. “5 surprises from Round 1 at the Masters Tournament – PGA TOUR” PGA TOUR, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.pgatour.com/article/news/latest/2023/04/06/5-surprises-from-round-1-at-the-masters-tournament-jon-rahm-viktor-hovland-augusta-national

10. “Rory McIlroy gives himself a mountain to climb with another slow Masters start” The Irish Times, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/2023/04/07/rory-mcilroy-gives-himself-a-mountain-to-climb-with-another-slow-masters-start/

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