"Not as sharp as I'd like to have it." That's how Tiger Woods assessed his game at the start of the week. His accuracy was spot on - with that statement, not his clubs.
By Bailey Mosier
As the decade comes to a close, so, too, will Tiger Woods' major season.
After a 7-over 78 in the opening round at Royal Portrush, Woods will need a Herculean effort on Friday to make it to the weekend at The 148th Open.
At his news conference on Tuesday, Woods admitted that his game was "not quite as sharp as (he'd) like to have it," referencing an inability to shape and flight the various shots he anticipated needing this week. Even still, few people could have foreseen this from Woods - a round that included six bogeys and one double-bogey to just one birdie.
"I'm not moving as well as I'd like," Woods said. "Certain shots I just can't hit."
Woods came into the week not having played a competitive round since the U.S. Open. That was 32 days ago. He also had never seen Royal Portrush prior to his arrival on Sunday. In total, he only played 43 holes (18 each on Sunday and Monday, followed by seven on Tuesday) on the Dunluce Links before teeing it up Thursday afternoon alongside Patrick Reed and Matt Wallace.
The 43-year-old has been singing the tune of a reduced schedule all year. The time off will help ensure his ability to continue showing up season after season.
"Father Time and procedures I've had, just the way it's going to be from here on out. It's why I'm not playing often anymore on the PGA Tour."
It was a dreary day in Portrush, and not just because of the rain and cloud cover. Woods did little to provide comfort to the golf world for the next nine months - the duration we'll have to wait until the 15-time major champion returns to Augusta National to defend his title.
When asked if Woods was going to play on Friday, he emphatically said, "I will be there."
Woods is currently T-144 in a field of 156. The top 70 and ties advance to the weekend.
Woods wasn't the only marquee player who ballooned on Thursday - betting favorite Rory McIlroy shot 79, former world No. 1 Adam Scott shot 78 and 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year Phil Mickelson shot 76.