The Open: Woods laments poor putting in error-strewn St Andrews return
Tiger Woods bemoaned his lack of luck and failures with the putter after carding an error-strewn first-round 78 at the 150th Open Championship.
Woods, who missed the U.S. Open, spoke glowingly of the Old Course in the build-up to the season's final major at St Andrews, where he has won two of his three Claret Jugs, but the 46-year-old came unstuck despite favourable conditions on Thursday.
Cameron Young shot the lowest round of the day with his eight-under 64, while Rory McIlroy is two shots back after finishing on six-under.
Yet Woods struggled with the pace of the greens and never recovered from a double-bogey on the first hole, where he found the burn protecting the green after his tee shot stuck in a fairway divot.
The 15-time major winner was honest in his appraisal after his round, conceding his short game left much to be desired.
"It was probably highest score I could have shot. I didn't get off to a great start," he told reporters.
"I hit a good tee shot down one, ended up right in the middle of a fresh divot and I hit a good shot, wind gusts hit it and ended up in the burn, and start off with a six.
"I think I had maybe four or five three-putts today. I just wasn't very good on the greens and every putt I left short.
"I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough. They looked faster than what they were putting, and I struggled with it. Here you really don't have as much control. They were quick.
"The greens were very firm but slow and it's an interesting combo, we weren't exactly speed demons out there either.
"The whole round took a long time, and we were getting waved up. And it was a long, slow day."
Indeed, Woods' round took more than six hours alongside Max Homa and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, with the trio teeing off at 14:59 BST and finishing at 21:07.
While Woods reiterated his disappointment with his putting, he insists that the element of luck has balanced out throughout his career.
"In a round sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and it never seems to come back, no matter how hard you fight," he added.
"Then I compounded problems, as I said, with my bad speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the correct spots a couple times, left myself some good lag putts, the correct angles and I messed those up.
"I think just the total score [was a disappointment]. It feels like I didn't really hit it that bad. Yes, I did have bad speed on the greens, yes.
"But I didn't really feel like I hit it that bad but I ended up in bad spots, or just had some weird things happen and that's just the way it goes. Links is like that and this golf course is like that."
Despite a frustrating return to the home of golf, Woods enjoyed playing at St Andrews once more, where he says the walk was less difficult than at the other two majors he has played this year.
"It was a lot easier today, physically, than it has been the other two events, for sure," said Woods, who almost saw his career end after suffering multiple leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.
"All things considered, where I've been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it at the beginning of the year, end of last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the major championships in between then and now, which was great.
"But this was always on the calendar to hopefully be well enough to play it and I am, I just didn't do a very good job of it!"
Woods faces an uphill task to make the cut for the weekend in what could be his final St Andrews appearance at The Open, but he knows what will be required on Friday.
"Looks like I'm going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance," he continued. "So obviously it has been done. Guys did it today.
"That's my responsibility tomorrow is to go ahead and do it, I need to do it."