Tiger Woods happy with teammates, but not himself on Day 1

V Krishnaswamy Albany | Updated on December 05, 2019

Gary Woodland (left) and Patrick Reed shared the first round lead   -  Lisa 7D Mark II

It was a mixed outing for Tiger Woods on the opening day of his annual golf fiesta at the Hero World Challenge.

The player in him was disappointed with the even par 72, but going in as Captain of the President’s Cup team next week, he deserved a pat, for two of his picks Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed shared the first round lead with 66s and there was another pick Rickie Fowler at Tied-fourth at 69.

Justin Thomas, who played alongside the host, was ribbed after being out-driven by the ‘elder statesman’, Woods. In the end Thomas shot 69 and Woods carded 72. It was a not an easy day at the normally easy-to-score Albany course as the wind, a little confusing at time. Yet, there were 80 birdies and three eagles, adding up $43,000 for ONE Bahamas fund, being collected to help rebuild areas hit by Hurricane Dorian earlier this year.

Right behind Woodland and Reed, was late replacement Chez Reavie (68) and Albany resident Justin Rose was Tied-fourth at 69 with Rickie Fowler. Woods rode a roller-coaster after. Two-over for front nine, he bounced back on the back nine. At least till after 15.

‘He was five-under for five holes between 11th and 15th and then came a bogey on 17th and a double on the 18th for a 72.

‘Not a good start’

“It was not a very good start,” Woods said. “Didn’t play the par 5s well early and then got it going on the back nine a little bit. Got myself right there in the mix and then bad shots on 17, 18.” Reed, playing with a new set of customised irons, the manufacturer of which he has not revealed yet, had seven birdies and one bogey.

When asked, he said, “They actually just threw up my stats while I was outside and it said I hit 11 out of 18 greens, but I felt like I hit it a lot better than that. I felt like I hit a lot of iron shots exactly how I was looking at; flighting it how I wanted to, holding it into the wind.”

Is it risky changing clubs before an event like President’s Cup? Said Reed, “Normally I would say yes, but I’ve been at home grinding with these a little bit, just not this past week.”

Woodland had eight birdies, the highest of the day. He said, “I drove the ball really well. The wind’s tough out there. Obviously you’ve got some big holes out there where you’ve got some tough shots, but I drove the golf ball beautifully and controlled the ball in the wind, which is what you’ve got to do out here.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm (70) recorded his fifth straight under-par score at Albany and he was eighth.

On seeing his teammates preparing for President’s Cup next week, Woods said, “We land there (Melbourne) Monday, we don’t have much time to get to the golf course on Monday. Then the next day it’s a long practice round, six guys have to do interviews, a gala dinner that night, followed the next day by a practice round, photos, and six more guys have to do interviews, pairings, and then we play.”

Woods is using this week as a good in-competition tune in ahead of that. At the same time, he also has an eye on his own game, just as it is going to be next week when he becomes only second playing captain in President’s Cup history. But for now, it is the Hero World Challenge.

Published on December 05, 2019

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