Tiger Woods Fights Through a Double-Cross to Card a 72 at The Masters

Tiger Woods swing betrayed him today at Augusta National in the first round of The Masters. He trusted it — even loved it — after breaking a 30 month winless drought on the PGA Tour two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but from his opening tee shot on Tea Olive, Woods was in for a double-cross… literally.

Despite largely relying on a cut over the last several months, a ball flight molded by new swing coach Sean Foley, Tiger Woods fought old habits in the opening round of The Masters. Tee shots on No. 1 and No. 2 that Woods set up to play a fade both found the foliage on the left, but Tiger was lucky enough to save pars on both holes.

Woods responded from his foreboding start with a birdie on the third and another on the eighth to make the turn with a one-under 35. On the always difficult 10th, Woods made another birdie to get to two-under. Unfortunately for Tiger, the pull-hook reared it’s ugly head again and took away birdie chances on No. 13 and No. 15.

On No. 17, Woods made bogey to fall back to one-under, and another double-cross left Tiger’s tee shot on No. 18 unplayable. However, facing a third shot from the pine straw and sitting at 225 yards from the pin on the Par 4, Tiger Woods had a little bit of magic left to salvage a bogey.

Despite a preposterous lie and an impeded backswing, Woods was able to advance the ball to the left of the green, although leaving him a difficult pitch. With the ball lying in the fairway but against the first cut of rough, a flop shot was out of the question, so Woods played a hooded bump and run that slammed into the slope and trickled onto the green and eight feet past the hole. Tiger was able to save the unlikely bogey and close his round at even-par with the leaders currently standing at three-under.

Tiger Woods was only able to hit 6-of-14 fairways on the day, but sitting just three strokes back from the leaders, he has to be happy with the production he got out of what could have easily been a disastrous round. If he can find the form that has put him at No. 1 in total driving on the PGA Tour in 2012, Tiger will certainly be a factor heading into the weekend.