Tiger Woods shot his magic first-round number at Augusta, but the world No. 1 wasn’t in much of a mood to talk about it.
Woods shot 2-under 70 – the number he has fired in three of his four Masters Tournament wins – but wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels on a day when the course was benign enough for a third of the field to break par.
“It’s a good start,” Woods said. “Some years some guys shot 65 starting out here. But right now I’m only four back and I’m right there.”
Woods didn’t look too happy most of the day as he struggled to get his irons close enough to have good birdie opportunities. He seemed surprised by the ace of the greens, leaving putts short on occasion.
“I thought the greens were a little bit tough in the sense that they just didn’t have the sheen to them, they didn’t have the rollout,” he said. “A couple of putts, we were talking about it in our group, that just weren’t that fast.”
Woods has never been a very fast starter at the Masters. Only once in his 19 starts at Augusta has Woods ever broken 70 – shooting 68 in 2010 after coming back from a four-month layoff. The only time he has shot 70 in the opening round and not gone on to win a green jacket was 2009, when he finished sixth.
But Woods – who missed a 6-footer for birdie on 15 – was obviously not thrilled as he damned it with faint praise by repeatedly calling his round “good” and “solid.”
“Absolutely, it was benign,” he said. “Especially starting out. The wind picked up in the middle part of the round. Got a little bit swirly there at Amen Corner, as usual. But overall I think the biggest challenge today was just the speed of the greens. They just weren’t quite there. They looked it, but just weren’t quite putting it.”
Woods climbed as high as third on the leaderboard when he reached 3-under after a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 13th. But he followed it with his only bogey of the day on 14, when he 3-putted after being unable to putt toward the hole from 35 feet for fear of its rolling down the front ledge and off the green.
“I hit a good second shot in there, and I was surprised it went that far,” he said. “I went down there, and I literally don’t have a putt to go at the hole. So I’m trying to put it 10 feet right of the hole – between 10 and 12 feet – that’s about as good as I could do.”
Woods tees off at 1:41 p.m. today in the next-to-last group.