“I’ve shot this number and won four coats, so hopefully I can do it again,” Tiger said.
Technically, it was just the first three of his four green jackets that were fueled by an opening 70, in 1997, 2001 and 2002. The last time Woods won at Augusta National, he opened with a 2-over 74 before getting back into the mix with rounds of 66-65.
Of course, maybe his factual gaffe was his way of foreshadowing a fourth opening-70 victory. Woods was certainly solid for most of the day and was definitely in a groove off the tee.
Even a few missed short putts on the front side didn’t seem terribly troubling from his view. “Overall I felt my speed was really good all day,” he said.
“I felt like I played well and I did all the things I needed to do today to post a good number,” he added.
Two of Woods’ four birdies came at the par-5 second and 13th holes, when his 300-plus yard drives found the fairway. Although his approach shots did not leave him with makeable eagle attempts, he was happy with the way he drove the ball.
“Especially with it as warm as it is, the ball’s going a long way so that we can get down there where we’re going to have irons into these par 5s, excluding 8,” Woods said. “… I thought that I played the par 5s well.”
Just one time in his 22 starts at the Masters has the 43-year-old Woods opened with a round in the 60s – in 2010 when he shot 68 and eventually tied for fourth.
So 70 is about the best he expects to do on Thursday. He’s not the leader, but he doesn’t have much ground to make up.
“We still have a long way to go,” Woods said. “Tee off late tomorrow and the wind’s supposed to be up, so I have my work cut out for me the rest of the week and so does everyone else.”
Tiger is seeking his fifth Masters win this week. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)