Tiger stutters on re-return to PGA Tour

2013 08 Woods 4

One-over 73 leaves Woods 80th in Frys.com Open

Comeback 2011 mk.III: Tiger's opening one-over-par 73 at CordeValle has him in danger of missing the halfway cut

Tiger Woods is on the cusp of the halfway cut at the Frys.com Open after opening with an erratic one-over-par 73 as the former world No.1 made yet another return to competitive golf.

Having slumped to a lowly 51st in the world rankings during an absence enforced first by injury and then by failing to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the 14-time major winner's stuttering comeback resumed at Northern California's CordeValle GC in the PGA Tour Fall Series event.

It was Tiger's first appearance since he chopped it round Atlanta Athletic Club in ten-over-par to miss the cut in the US PGA Championship back in August. Woods has never missed the cut in consecutive appearances.

Blighted by injury and personal strife in recent years, a Tiger rebirth has become something of a perennial in the golfing calendar. On this occasion, though, there was a far more positive mood surrounding the latest Woods' comeback.

A course record 62 at Medalist CC in practice in the days leading up to the tournament hinted that the swing changes overseen by Sean Foley had finally found a groove. After the messy divorce from long-time bagman Stevie Williams, Tiger had also confirmed that the experienced Joe LaCava would be his new looper. And, perhaps the most encouraging of all, there was the first real sign that the toxic mushroom cloud of Tiger's indiscretions was dissipating as agent Mark Steinberg announced a lucrative sponsorship deal with Rolex.

And, after a striped drive and approach for a tap-in birdie at the first at CordeValle yesterday, there was the tantalising prospect that this time it was for real. Tiger Woods was finally back.

Cut to five hours, 17 holes and 70 shots later, though, and the same old doubts had resurfaced. Inaccuracy off the tee, short-sided approaches and what Tiger himself described as "one of the worst putting rounds I've ever had," meant that Woods lay in a tie for 80th in what is, at best, a middling PGA Tour event.

Tiger is six shots adrift of leaders Brendan Steele, Garret Willis, Matt Bettencourt and Briny Baird.

Yet another return, yet another false dawn.


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