Woods experienced one of the most dramatic career nosedives in all of sports history in 2009, following revelations about multiple cases of marital infidelity, leading to his divorce.
Prior to the incident, he was undoubtedly the world’s best golfer and arguably the most dominant athlete in all of sports. After the scandal, he went over two years without winning a PGA Tour event.
He is currently ranked No. 4 in the world and is coming off two recent tournament wins. He shot 13-under at the Arnold Palmer invitational and nine under at the Memorial Tournament.
He was healthy and focused in those performances and nothing about his first round at the Olympic Course in San Francisco suggests that the U.S. Open will be any different.
Woods was incredibly consistent in his opening round. He hit par on 13 of the 18 holes. He birdied three holes and had just two bogeys on the day.
After the round, Woods said, “I played well today. I felt like I had control of my game all day and just stuck to my game plan and executed my game plan. I was very pleased,” via Dave Shedloski of USOpen.com.
Shedloski also notes in the same article that the last time Woods shot a comparable opening round at the U.S. Open was when he posted a 67 at Bethpage Black in New York in 2002. He went on to win the tournament that year.
It was only a matter of time before Woods found his stroke again. It is impossible to overstate how much focus golf requires and it must have been remarkably difficult for Woods to dedicate his full attention to his profession while his personal life was blowing up in front of his eyes, and it was entirely his own fault.
This, in combination with injuries, caused Woods’ game to suffer. Now that he is healthy and has had a chance to cope with the changes outside of golf, he is capable of returning to his old form.
When Woods is at full strength, there is no golfer on the planet that can touch him. He is comfortable with his surroundings in San Francisco after the first round and still within striking distance of the top spot.
Look for Woods to improve with every round and begin his return to dominance at this tournament.