Tiger Woods: Five-time Masters winner draws Under-71 in first round after returning from injury

Five-time Masters champion Woods played in Group 14, alongside South African Louis Oosthuizen and Chilean Joaquin Niemann, after the first round of the 2022 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club was delayed due to bad weather in Augusta, Georgia.

Dressed in a pink shirt, Woods received a resounding round of applause from the crowd when his name was announced. After hitting her opening record, Woods received more cheers from fans.

His training wasn’t perfect, although the 46-year-old ended up paring the first hole to the delight of the spectators.

Woods’ first birdie came on the sixth hole after his excellent tee shot left him with a short putt to shoot under par for the first time.

However, after bogeying the eighth hole, Woods completed the par first nine.

He dropped below par again after a birdie on the par-five 13th hole, only to be leveled by a hole later.

Woods showed some of the fight he became so famous for during his illustrious career on the 16th hole, rolling in a tricky putt for another birdie – a trademark fist pump in celebration – to go one under at most great delight of thousands of spectators. .

Despite a wayward tee shot on the 18th hole, Woods managed to save a par, meaning he shot a one-under par 71, marking a solid return to competitive golf after nearly 17 months out of the game. ‘absence.

After his first round, Woods said he was “as sore as I expected”, but admitted it was “amazing” to be back on the course.

“I’ve been telling the team all week, come game time, that’ll be another matter,” he told the media. “My adrenaline will surge. I will step into my little world and take care of it. This is about the training we did to have the stamina.

“I’m going to hurt, yes. That’s how it is. But the training cycles we’ve had to make sure I have the stamina to keep going – and that’s just one round. We There are still three to go. There is a long way to go and a lot of moves to be made.

Woods added: “I can swing a golf club. Walking isn’t easy and it’s tough. Like I said with all the hard work, my leg, it’s going to be tough for the rest of my life. life. It’s like that. , but I’m able to do it.

“It’s something that I’m very lucky to have this opportunity to be able to play, and not only that, to play in the Masters and to have this type of reception.”

By late Thursday, South Korean Im Sung-jae was leading the pack at five under par.

Woods waves to fans on the 18th green after completing the first round.

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Woods was scheduled to tee off at 10:34 a.m. ET, but due to the weather delay, he started his game just after 11 a.m. ET. His group is due to start the second round at 1:41 p.m. ET on Friday.

“It’s a miraculous thing,” said 1992 Masters winner Fred Couples. “Fourteen months ago I was bawling like a baby every day, and now…he looks strong.

“I know the leg is injured but he hits it far enough to play this course, and he is playing this course as well as he does, he has won a lot here, he knows what to do.”

Speculation began to mount over Woods’ participation in the tournament when his private jet was spotted landing at an airport near Augusta last week.

Since his car accident, Woods has only appeared in public on a golf course once – at the PNC Championship in December with his son Charlie. Next, Woods used a golf cart to help him get around the course.

“The walking is the hardest part. It’s not an easy walk to start with,” Woods told the PGA Tour, referring to Augusta’s hilly course.

“With the conditions my leg is in, it gets a bit more difficult. Seventy-two holes is a long way. It’s going to be a tough challenge and a challenge I’m ready for.”

After almost completely dominating men’s golf early in his career, Woods’ career took a downward spiral.

However, the Masters was the scene of another seemingly impossible comeback when Woods claimed victory in 2019, ending an 11-year wait between his 14th and 15th major wins.

“It’s Tiger Woods so I’m not worried about him hitting a ball because he’s the best player I’ve ever seen play,” Couples added.

“He’s won so many times, and he’s just not a guy to go and do anything mediocre. He’ll compete and he’ll be ready to ride. I think it’s amazing for him to be here.”

Homero De La Fuente contributed to this report.