Tiger Woods seems to be off to a rather quiet start to this year.
Unfortunately, not all of his rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open were featured on television, but what has been shown has some positives, but proves he still has some work to do.
The distance is not an issue. It never has been. Never will be.
However, the statistics for driving accuracy seems to be an issue for Tiger. He only hit 36 percent of fairways in the first round, and this appeared to be his biggest handicap as he plays.
I think part of his problem is compensation.
On his 18th hole, the par-five ninth, Woods closed his face a little to amp up the power, and the ball went through the fairway. Either he closed the face too much, or he didn't compensate for it—that hole it was probably a combination of the two.
This is definitely something Tiger will work on tomorrow.
Today, Tiger struck the ball beautifully.
I think that despite the fact it is early on in his swing transformation, that it is not too early to say Tiger's ball-striking has improved 200 percent.
With the driving accuracy he posted, he still managed to hit 14 greens in regulation.
Tiger birdied two of the par-threes, one thanks to a relatively brilliant putt, but the other was just a brilliant swing to put it to three feet.
Overall, his iron play was the biggest plus of the day. The only thing he said he wants to do better is ball-positioning.
Tiger Woods certainly put the work in to change his golf swing—there is no question that he wanted no lag time for his swing change, as he had with Hank Haney.
Tiger's swing just has a wonderful tempo to it now, even with the driver.
Although his driving didn't exactly produce the results, it is noticeable that he is not jumping out of his shoes trying to hit the drive.
His swing plane is within about a one-and-a-half degree range either way, and his face angle is within tenths of a degree of perfect when he wants it to be.
Tiger looks so comfortable with his swing it is slightly ridiculous, but not surprising.
With the amount of work we all know Tiger is putting into his swing, many people questioned whether or not his short game would suffer.
However, when he did miss greens today (only three times today), his play out of the rough was admirable.
His save on the his seventeenth hole (No. 8), was an example of how his game can save him.
One of his worst chips of the day was on the ninth hole to finish his round. He left it short, and it cost him a stroke.
But it still can't take away from how he played.
Putting is a completely separate entity than his short game as of right now. Unlike his short game, his putting still lacks something.
Tiger wasn't as aggressive as he normally is, and left a few shorter length putts out there. For those of you wondering, Tiger has chosen the Scotty Cameron Newport 2.0 for the week apparently.
Tiger didn't like where he was positioned for his putts and said he was too often above the hole with some sweeping breaks.
Fortunately, this is only the first day.
Tiger gets to play the South Course tomorrow, which I think plays to his favor, as he will be playing South for the next three days.
Tiger made a few nice putts coming down the stretch, including at the sixth and eighth hole, but the miss on his last putt is something he can't do—leave it short.
He seems to be getting back into the set of a routine for his putting, which is something he got away from in 2010.
The state of Tiger Woods' game is well off—but he will get there.
Is his driver on target? Not really. But remember, some of his missed fairways included bounces like the one on No. 7, where he went through the fairway.
Is his putting at it right now? No, but that will come with time these next three days I believe. Tiger was still able to make a few nice putts despite his lack of aggression.
The last thing Tiger needs to remember is TEMPER.
On the eighth hole, Tiger slipped off his tee shot. He dealt with it well. However, the following fairway bunker swing was not perfect when he caught it a little fat. I know I saw him slam his club, and I'm pretty sure I heard a four letter word.
The positive? It was only one. He shouted and then didn't say anything.
Even these negatives can't take away from what proves the known: If Tiger Woods hits his driver well, there is no one who can stop him—even if his putting isn't perfect, but I think that will get there.
All signs point to improvement from when we last saw him.
A par-free round is something to build off of, and Tiger should be happy with the fact he didn't make a single bogey all day.
I still expect Tiger to be the man taking home the Farmers Insurance Open trophy this weekend.
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