Tiger Woods makes turn at 3 over in Round 1 of Memorial | Golf

Tiger Woods, back in action at the Memorial Tournament on Thursday, was fighting waywardness off the tee and faced an uphill climb as he made the turn at 3-over 39 in Round 1 at Muirfield Village.

Starting on the back nine with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, Woods, in a telling assessment of his game early on, bogeyed his first par-5 and doubled the second one, the types of holes he has feasted on in his career and most recently in his comeback this season.

The problem: accuracy off the tee.

In fact, after struggling with pulled shots left early on, Woods blew his tee shot on No. 15 out of bounds on the right side, leading to the 7 that pushed him to 3 over through six holes.

Just how wayward was Woods? The OB tee ball wound up in the backyard of a house adjacent to the course.

Wheels wobbling early, Woods’ par putt on 16 did nearly a 180 but didn’t fall, pushing him to 4 over through seven. “Getting early late,” Golf Channel assessed.

He clawed back a stroke on his eighth hole, hitting a fairway for only the second time on his first nine, knocking his approach to 12 feet and sinking the putt. The birdie pulled him out of dead last among players on the course Thursday morning. Thomas was even and Fowler plus-1 as the threesome began its second nine.

In contrast, American Beau Hossler was setting the morning pace at Muirfield Village, sitting at 6 under through 12 holes late in the morning.

Woods, 42, has won the Memorial five times, most recently in 2012, and has never missed the cut in 15 tries.

But in his most recent appearance in 2015 at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event, when Woods was in the throes of back problems, he shot his highest score as a pro: an 85 in the third round. He teed off alone in the final round and finished dead last.

Three back surgeries later — the most recent a fusion that appears to have solved the problem but kept him from swinging a club for more than six months — Woods has looked much better this year.

The Memorial is his ninth start of 2018. He has four top-12 finishes, including a tie for 11th in his last start at The Players Championship.



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