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Masters 2010 Blog: It's Business as Usual for Tiger Woods

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Tiger Woods celebrates making eagle on the eighth hole during the first round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

This is a live Masters blog which will be running throughout the tournament.  Please check in from time to time for up to the minute updates.

7:20 pm - Woods plows his birdie putt through the break and misses on the left side of the hole. He cleans up for par and a round of 68.

Now don't those 5-to-1 odds of Tiger winning look quite generous?

Is it too cheesy to say heee's baaack?

All things considered, what an unbelievable round of golf.

7:15 pm - Woods is looking at a five foot birdie putt on the 18th for a round of 67.

7:10 pm - Woods is walking up the 18th fairway and on his way to his lowest ever opening round at the Masters.

What rust?

What loss of mental strength?

It's baffling how cool, calm and collected he has been today, let alone how well he has hit the ball after five months away from competitive golf.

6:35 pm - Woods calms rolls in his eagle putt on the 15th.  He's now within two strokes of the lead...and the rest of the field is begining to shake in their spikes.

6:15 pm - After double crossing his approach shot, Woods fails to get up and down for par and drops a stroke at the 14th.

50-year-old Fred Couples has now taken sole posession of the lead with a birdie at the 17th...you couldn't make this stuff up.

5:55 pm - Woodss misses a 10 foot eagle putt on 13, but cleans up for birdie and pulls to within two strokes of the lead with one par five still remaining ahead of him.

Aside from the standing ovations in round one, there has been absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about Woods' game this afternoon.  In fact, he appears to be rolling the ball better on the greens than he was for most of the 2009 season.

5:40 pm - Couples ties for the lead with a birdie on the 15th hole.  Although Augusta National may discriminate in their membership policies, their golf course certainly doesn't discriminate on the basis of age.

5:25 pm - Woods receives a standing ovation as he walks to the 12th tee box and then sticks a nine iron to less than five feet.

Anyone still think that Woods will be heckled or that his mental or physical game would suffer as a result of the last five months?

5:00 pm - Woods fails to get up-and-down for par at the 10th, although his putting stroke is still looking good.

Couples just recorded his second consecutive birdie at the 13th and moves to four-under-par. 

Call it turn back the clock day at Augusta National.

4:35 pm - Woods sunk his birdie putt at the ninth, and as Nick Faldo pointed out, Woods has covered more than 1,100 yards (eighth and ninth holes) in just six strokes. If Woods somehow gets into the clubhouse with a 68 or 69 in these tough afternoon conditions, the rest of the field is in big trouble.

4:30 pm - Woods just hit a 30 yard hook around a large pine tree at the ninth, his ball caming to rest within 10 feet of the hole.  If there's any rust on his game we certainly haven't seen it yet.

Fred Couples just rolled in a 20 footer at the par-three 12th to move to three-under-par and within just two stokes of the lead.

4:15 pm - Woods follows up a bogey at the seventh was an eagle at the par-five eighth.  Aaand it's business as usual for Tiger.

3:58 pm - Network coverage will FINALLY start in two minutes...just in time for the rain that is moving in on Augusta National.

3:45 pm - Mickelson, Watson, Westwood and Yang are all in the clubhouse with scores of 67.  Kim birdied 16, 17 and 18 to finish with a four-under-par round of 68. Woods is holding steady at one-under-par through six holes.

3:25 pm - Woods sinks a five foot par putt on the fifth, yet another indication that his short game is where it needs to be.  Granted, this is the same guy that has made nearly every pressure putt he's faced in his career, but he appears almost eerily calm considering all the hoopla surrounding his return to competitive golf.

3:10 pm - Woods is off to precisely the start he was looking for.  He's currently one-under-par through four holes, and most importantly, his short game appears to be as sharp as ever which is quite remarkable after five months away from competitive golf.

3:00 pm - The cream is rising to the top.  Lee Westwood is in with a 67, Michelson has moved to five-under-par through 15 and Els is three-under through 16.

2:35 pm - Woods moves into the red with a birdie at the par-four third. Michelson moves to three under par thanks to an eagle at the par-five fifth.  With just one birdie on his card today, Michelson finally appears to have his game under control.  Whether or not he can keep it under control is, and always has been, the big question with Michelson.

2:20 pm - Woods parred the second hole and Y.E. Yang has moved to four-under-par on his round.

I know it's a bit early, but anyone hoping for a Woods v. Yang part II?

Or better yet, Woods vs. Watson...it would be Huck Finn vs. well, the complete opposite Huck Finn...

2:10 pm - Watson just birdied the 18th for an opening round score of 67.  The guy is unbelievable.

Woods mauled another tee shot right down the middle of the second fairway and hit his second just right of a greenside bunker.

Anyone else interested in having a few choice words with Billy Payne about not extending ESPN's Masters coverage window?

2:00 pm - If you're looking for heckling or unruly crowds, you ain't gonna find it at Augusta National.  Woods is receiving loud ovations everywhere he goes and has just calmly parred the first hole.  Tom Watson is on his way to closing out a round of 68 and taking the clubhouse lead...you can't make this stuff up.

1:44 pm - Tiger arrives on the first tee box to a thunderous ovation and proceeds to pound his tee shot right down the middle of the fairway...expect anything different?

1:25 pm - David Toms just bogied the 18th hole but still sets the early pace with an opening round score of 69.

Woods will tee off in 20 minutes and the way he plays the front nine could very well determine whether or not he will contend this week.

1:07 pm - Tiger has arrived.  He's on the putting green at this very moment...with a massive armed police officer standing a mere 10 feet away from him.

1:00 pm - David Toms has birdied four of his last five holes to take control of the lead at four under par.  Mickelson has, amazingly enough, played a flawless round of golf to this point; he's two under par through eight holes without a bogey on the card.

It's slipped my mind, who's in that 1:42 pm tee time again?

12:25 pm - Marino bogied the 11th.  There is now a seven-way tie atop the leaderboard...and Tom Watson is one of those seven.

12:03 pm - Old Man Watson is hanging strong. After birdying two out of his first three holes, Watson has recorded seven consecutive pars.  This guy is a 60-year-old golfing machine.

11:57 am - Anthony Kim has birdied the fifth and sixth holes.  Could we be looking at another 11 birdie round for Kim at Augusta National? Stay tuned.

11:42 am - The answer?  No amateur has ever won the Masters, which is quite ironic when considering that the ultimate amateur - Bobby Jones - created the tournament.

11:40 am - Mid-Am champion Nathan Smith is at two-under par through 10 holes and just one stroke off the lead.  Here's some trivia for you - who was the last Amateur to win the Masters?

11:25 am - Ouch! Graeme McDowell is five over par through 10 holes.  Luke Donald and Geof Ogilvy are not doing much better - each are three over par at the moment.

11:15 am - Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera have each birdied two out of their first three holes and are just one stroke behind Marino.

10:54 am - Patrons, watch your heads. Phil Mickelson teed off the first hole 20 minutes ago, and if his practice rounds are anything to go by, he could be spraying the ball all over these sacred grounds.

10:47 am - Steve Marino birdies the par-three sixth hole to pull even with Bernhard Langer atop the leaderboard.  Who know that someone (Marino) could be successful on Augusta National while playing a controlled slice?

10:20 am – Bernhard Langer is leading the Masters at three-under-par, while Tom Watson is one stroke behind.  I didn’t know the Champions Tour was holding their first major of the year this week.

For more Masters news, insight and analysis, visit The Tour Report.

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