Tiger return hints of past
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011 9:02 pm
By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — There was no limp for Tiger Woods in his return to golf at the Bridgestone Invitational.
If anything, there was a bounce in his step.
Woods had said this was the best he has felt physically in years, and it sure looked that way Thursday at Firestone in his first round in 84 days. He was last seen at a tournament May 12 when he limped off the TPC Sawgrass with injuries to his left leg that kept him out of two majors and made his future look more clouded than ever.
But this was different.
He had an effortless swing and more power than he has shown in some time. He smiled more. He pumped his fists for par saves on the front nine, and raised the putter in his left hand when he dropped the last of his three birdies on the 16th hole on his way to a 2-under 68.
“I was hitting proper shots out there, and the distances I was hitting the golf ball … I hadn’t hit the ball like this,” Woods said. “This was fun.”
It was fun for just about everyone on a soft day that was ripe for scoring.
And it was especially fun for Adam Scott, who matched his career low on the PGA Tour on a day of record scoring at Firestone. With four birdies over his last six holes, Scott had a 62 to build a one-shot lead over Jason Day.
That he was six shots clear of Woods meant little to anyone but Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, who Woods fired a month ago.
“I’m sure he feels good about today,” Scott with a grin.
Half of the 78-man field at this World Golf Championship broke par, a record number (39) for any round at Firestone in the 12 years of this event. The scoring average of 69.63 was the lowest in 10 years.
Even so, this day was about one score, and one player.
“It feels great,” Woods said. “As anybody who’s been off and who’s been injured, first time back it’s a little nervous to see what happens. But my practice sessions were good, so there’s no reason why I should be worried out there. I went out there and let it go, let it rip and see what happens.”
The attention on Woods was so great that when he stepped onto the first tee, the gallery lined the entire right side of the 401-yard opening hole and wrapped around the green.
Published in The Messenger 8.5.11