Tiger Woods Struggles, Shoots 1 Over in 1st Round of 2018 Hero World Challenge

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

Tiger Woods hits from the seventh tee during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Woods now is No. 13 in the world as he hosts this holiday tournament for the 20th time. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)
Dante Carrer/Associated Press

Tiger Woods' first PGA Tour round of the 2018-19 season was a mixed bag Thursday in the Bahamas after he finished with a one-over 73 at the Hero World Challenge. 

Even though Woods' final score isn't what he hoped, things looked a lot worse after he carded a triple bogey on No. 12 that dropped him to three over. The 42-year-old salvaged his day with birdies on Nos. 15 and 18. 

With the exception of his big blunder, Woods was solid on the 17 other holes. He nearly aced No. 18 before he took a birdie and moved into a tie for 16th with Xander Schauffele:


A nice end to the round for @TigerWoods. #QuickHits https://t.co/7LIfOEVDTw

Woods' tee shot on No. 12 went left of the hole and wound up in the hazard. His attempt to salvage things went awry after his ball barely made it out of the rough on a chip shot, rolled back down the hill and dropped into the water. 

One area of concern for Woods came when he got on the green. His inability to make efficient use of his putter on the front nine forced him to make the turn at even par:

Michael Collins @ESPNCaddie

Tiger Woods only missed one green of his first 9 holes Thursday, but 17 putts meant there would be no low score to start the day. https://t.co/ZSz04ExnVd

The first round was Woods' best during the 2018 season by number of putts needed. The 14-time major champion averaged 27.71 putts in opening rounds, fourth-best on the PGA Tour. 

Woods commented earlier this week his body wore down at the end of last season, leading to his 0-4 record in the Ryder Cup. 

"I was not physically prepared to play that much golf at the end of the year. ... It was just hot," he told reporters. "It was hard for me to maintain my strength and my weight through all of that. I was exhausted by the time I got to the Ryder Cup. I was worn out mentally, physically, emotionally."

Per ESPN's Bob Harig, there could be another explanation for Woods' position on the leaderboard:

Bob Harig @BobHarig

Tiger's 73 in opening round at Hero World Challenge beat only Hideki Matsuyama. You can tell intensity, urgency missing. All rusty. Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay lead after 65s.

After playing 22 holes against Phil Mickelson in Capital One's The Match last Friday, Woods could still be rounding himself into prime playing shape. 

Even though this wasn't the beginning Woods hoped for at the Hero World Challenge, there are still three rounds to play as he chases Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed atop the leaderboard at seven under par. 

Woods could've easily made par on No. 12 by adding a touch of power to his chip shot, instead of having it roll down the hill. The mistakes he made in the first round are easy to correct, giving him a clear path to get back into contention by the end of Friday.