TT Postscript: Woods shoots 3 of 73 in first round of BMW PGA Tour Championship


This afternoon at Olympia Fields felt more like a US Open than the 2003 US Open. Here are my thoughts after watching Tiger Woods crush a 73 out of 3 in the first round of the BMW Championship:

• It was an almighty struggle. Nothing came easily. Just two birdies. And I guess that was to be expected on a par 70 that has narrow fairways, long rough greens and fast and firm. What a test! The winning score this week will not be 30 cents; maybe 10 cents. If we’re lucky.

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• Even with short clubs, Tiger hasn’t given himself many good birdie opportunities. Its proximity to the hole: 35 feet. And it was like that. Time and time again he would hit offset putts, then too often left himself 3 to 5 feet to clean for par.

• Is there a worse way to close than with three consecutive bogeys? I think not. But that’s what he did on # 7-9 – everything is missing at 10ft. That totaled a day of 32 putts.

• Tiger answered three quick questions after his round and that’s it. He was, what’s the word? Drunk. Yeah, the word is edgy.

• After looking good off the tee last week in Boston, he was missing both ways with the driver – and it cost him over the only two by 5 here. Some front left. A few blocks to the right, including his 18th hole of the day which cost him another stroke. Only six of the 14 fairways were affected. I saw him practice exaggerated movements in his descent during his warm-up on the stand and again on the course. Clearly not totally comfortable with where the swing is at the moment. He looked frustrated with the big stick.

• Two highlights of the day: his second shot in 18. He gave up the tee on the 500-yard hole, leaving himself about 215 yards from the pin. He hit an absolute laser about 15 feet away. Make each player on the Tour throw a ball that distance, and I’ll take Tiger every time. The second? His bump and run on 5. Only possible under firm conditions, but Tiger took an intermediate iron (probably a 5) and hopped it up the hill and onto the green, settling down to around 1.50 metre. He paid for it with a good parade.

• Overall it’s not a bad day. He was outside the top 40 when he finished his round but still close at hand. He needs at least a top-6 this week to have any chance of qualifying for the circuit championship. Most likely need a top-4 or better. After that, whatever – this week is all the US Open warm-up he needs.


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