In a tournament that Tiger Woods has owned for the better part of a decade, the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open couldn’t have been more of a letdown.
Starting his 2013-14 PGA Tour season off at Torrey Pines, Woods couldn’t get anything going, as he struggled just to post a level-par round of 72 for the day, and sits eight shots behind leader Stewart Cink. He made just two birdies, one on each nine, but gave them back with inopportune bogeys. So what went wrong for the world’s No. 1 player today?
For starters, Tiger’s traditional dominance over Torrey’s lengthy par-fives was nonexistent.
“Well, even-par’s not too bad, but I didn’t play the par-5s worth a darn today,” Woods told USA TODAY. “I played them even-par. Obviously that’s paramount to try to get any kind of scoring on the South course […]You’ve got to take care of the par-5s because there’s not a lot of holes you can make birdies here.”
“So I didn’t do that, so subsequently I didn’t finish under par.”
That’s a virtual diatribe for Woods following an off-day. But here’s the good news: as bad as today was, he’s really got nothing to worry about going into the second round.
Of the top 45 players – T-29 and up – a mere five players started on the South course. Pat Perez shot the low round on the 7,700-yard monster track, coming in at five-under 67. Those 40 others will all face the same difficulties on Friday that Woods, Jordan Spieth (-1, playing with Woods and Jimmy Walker) and so many others did today.
With the North course presenting more scoring opportunities, and Woods getting another round to work with his new driver, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go five or even six under par tomorrow to get right back into contention.
All in all, while things certainly didn’t look good for Woods to start, there’s still lots of golf to play, and the field will get a lot more level once the South course takes its pound of flesh.