Masters 2012 Leaderboard: Breaking Down Tiger Woods' Opening Round at Augusta
The jury's still out on whether or not Tiger Woods is actually "back" after Round 1 at The Masters. The man with four green jackets in his closet shot an even-par 72 on Thursday at Augusta National, putting him in solid position for success, though hardly one that would suggest any measure of dominance.
Woods got off on the right foot with three birdies in his first 10 holes before falling back a bit with bogeys on 17 and 18.
Of course, compared to Henrik Stenson's quadruple-bogey on the final hole, Tiger's result was a fantastic one.
Especially considering how he was able to recover from a penalty drop on a poor drive down the impossibly treacherous fairway.
Should Tiger Woods be worried about his poor finish to Round 1?
Woods struggled off the tee all day, putting himself in tough spots time after time. Rather than chasing birdies, Tiger spent far too much time trying to save par after whiffing on the fairways, narrow as they were.
Luckily for Tiger, his world-class scrambling game was well intact, as was his ability to make up strokes on his putts. Woods seemed to have a solid grasp of the speed of the greens at Augusta on Thursday, demonstrating the sort of inner peace that he'll need to compete for the top of the leaderboard this weekend.
Which he should. As the folks at ESPN Stats & Info point out, Tiger's first round at The Masters is usually his worst. His average score? Pretty much what it was today—72.1.
From there, he drops to 70.4 on Day 2, 69.8 on "moving day" and 70.6 on Day 4.
In other words, the best is likely yet to come for Tiger. He figures to make the necessary adjustments on his drives, which should allow him to putt for many more birdies than bogeys this weekend.
The only thing that could hold Woods back is his health. He appeared to be playing through a stiff neck at times, which may (or may not) have affected his follow-through off the tee.
That aside, Woods has as good a shot as ever of adding a 15th major championship to his trophy case with 54 holes ahead.
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