Ponte Vedra, FL (CBS/WVLT), Tiger Woods has done many things in his electrifying career, but he did something on Thursday that he has never done before. He broke 70 in his opening round at the Players Championship.
He told Golf Channel after his round that he knew he had to go low because of some great scores early on:
"I felt like I had to go out and shoot something in the 60s today. Most of the guys were under par in that morning session."
Woods has never had a bogey-free round at TPC Sawgrass, something that he nearly accomplished Thursday if not for a bogey on the final hole. Here's a look at the sweet little 5-under 67 that he shot. The 67 was one shot off his best round ever at the Players Championship. He shot 66 in the third round in both 2000 and 2001. It was also his best round since the final round in 2007.
We have ourselves a strong leaderboard at one of the strongest tournaments on the PGA Tour. Woods trails Rory McIlroy (66) and Zach Johnson (66) and is tied with Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson, among others. Sergio Garcia (68) and Padraig Harrington (68) are just behind them. They all trail leader Roberto Castro, who shot a 9-under 63 to tie the course record held by Fred Couples and Greg Norman.
Woods was outstanding off the tee, often eschewing his driver for his 3-wood or 5-wood and consistently finding himself in the middle of the fairway with managable approach shots.
He mostly avoided bogeys (except for No. 18), something that can send you spiraling out of control in a hurry at this golf course. A prime example of this was on the famed No. 17, where Tiger shelved his tee shot on the top right of the green and had a lengthy 55-foot putt that he lagged beautifully. It could have turned into a four (or worse), but Woods cleaned up his par and marched on to No. 18.
We've talked about Woods and McIlroy and this faux rivalry that we've created for them for quite a while now. But on a gorgeous Thursday at the Players, they delivered equally outstanding rounds.
They're chasing Castro for now, but they're both right where they want to be. And wouldn't it be sweet to get a little Tiger-Rory action on the weekend. Stay tuned and take a look at the tweet below; we could be in for a show at the Players.
Knoxville's Scott Stallings got to -5 and grabbed the early lead, but a bogey on 11, a double bogey on 12 and triple bogey on the par-5, 16th dropped him back to minus-1 and a first round 71.