SLOW BURNER; NO FIREWORKS FROM WOODS Tiger Takes His Time to Whip Fans into a Frenzy but Fab Finish Keeps Hopes of Fairytale Triumph Alive

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), April 6, 2018 | Go to article overview

SLOW BURNER; NO FIREWORKS FROM WOODS Tiger Takes His Time to Whip Fans into a Frenzy but Fab Finish Keeps Hopes of Fairytale Triumph Alive


Byline: NEIL MCLEMAN

LIKE the Augusta weather this week, it took Tiger Woods and his fans a while to warm up yesterday.

Despite huge galleries lining every fairway under the clear blue sky, the initial atmosphere was respectful or reverential rather than hysterical towards the man in black.

But at the start of his first round back at Augusta for two years there was not much to shout about.

Right from pulling his opening tee shot into the trees, the new Woods was looking for his old routine on his favourite playground.

He did not manage a single birdie on the four par-5s he traditionally dominated. And after pushing tee shots right and bogeying the first hole around Amen Corner, the first big cheer came when the 14-time Major winner avoided total disaster by nailing a 15-foot putt to avoid a double disaster after finding Rae's Creek off the tee at 12.

At that point Woods had slipped to three-over and trailed his playing partner and early leader Marc Leishman by six shots.

The American superstar continues to divide opinions but there can be no doubting he is a fighter.

And he played his final six holes in two-under, including a 22-foot birdie putt on the 16th, to finish on one-over 73.

It was the same score as his last round here in 2015. And the old roars from the crowd were back by the end.

It was still three shots behind Leishman and a stroke back from Tommy Fleetwood. It could have been better. But it could have been a lot worse.

The four-time Masters champion said: "It was interesting. It was up and down for me today. I had some birdie chances I didn't take.

"I played the par-5s very sloppily. If I had played these even half decently I would have been a couple under par.

"I didn't have my best stuff but kept it together and posted a decent score.

"I definitely didn't score as well as I played. I could have done better on the par-5s.

"But I feel good. It feels awesome to be back."

Woods had described the atmosphere in his practice rounds as the craziest he has ever experienced at Augusta - and he blamed himself for dialling down the hype.

He said: "It was incredible at the start - people were ecstatic. …

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