Carnoustie - Tiger Woods' much anticipated return to the British Open after a two-year hiatus sparkled early on before ending in a level-par 71 at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The 42-year-old three-time Open champion - who due to back issues had missed the last two editions - admitted afterwards he was suffering from a sore neck but insisted it had not affected his round too much.
Woods has shown glimpses of his old form at times since returning to the tour last December, and he looked in good order as he went out with two birdies, before an erratic inward nine featured three bogeys and just one more birdie.
"It's been bugging me for a while," said Woods of his neck complaint.
"Everyone acts like this is the first time I've been bandaged up. I've been doing this for years... braces and bandages, just that this time it's actually visible."
Woods said he felt good on the practice range prior to his round in the afternoon and remarked that he couldn't really blame the neck problem for his play, except with his swing from time to time.
"You know, a little bit here and there, but it's all right," he said after finishing the day five shots behind leader Kevin Kisner.
Woods, who denied reports he had snubbed waiting autograph hunters at practice on Wednesday, said he played better than his score suggested.
"I played better than what the score indicates because I had two 8-irons into both par fives today, and I end up with par on both of those," he said.
"If I just clean up those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them with 8-iron in my hand, I think I'd probably have the best round in the afternoon wave.
"So it certainly could have been a little bit better."
However, Woods was far from downbeat about his chances with the sunny weather due to take a turn for the worse and with his innate ability to play links golf better than many of his rivals.
He will begin his second round at 11:20 SA time on Friday.
"I've just always enjoyed - this is how the game should be played," he said.
"It should be creative. It should be played on the ground. You can utilise the ground as an ally.
"When we play at home in the States, that's not the case. Everything is going straight up in the air, but this is very different.
"It's amazing the shot, the creativity. I mean, you can roll the ball 100 yards if you wanted to, or you can throw it straight up in the air."
First round scores from the Open Championship on Thursday at Carnoustie (GBR & IRL unless stated, par 71, x denotes amateur):
66 - Kevin Kisner (USA)
67 - Tony Finau (USA), Zander Lombard (RSA), Erik Van Rooyen (RSA)
68 - Brendan Steele (USA), Brandon Stone (RSA), Ryan Moore (USA)
69 - Pat Perez (USA), Zach Johnson (USA), Sung Kang (KOR), Danny
Willett, Matthew Southgate, Chez Reavie (USA), Rory McIlroy, Justin
Thomas (USA), Jon Rahm (ESP), Russell Henley (USA)
70 - Francesco Molinari (ITA), Luke List (USA), Chris Wood, Alex
Noren (SWE), Matt Kuchar (USA), Patrick Cantlay (USA), Kevin Chappell
(USA), Webb Simpson (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Yuta
Ikeda (JPN), Rickie Fowler (USA), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Thomas Pieters
71 - Abraham Ancer (MEX), Tiger Woods (USA), Charley Hoffman (USA),
Gary Woodland (USA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Kim Si-woo (KOR), Paul Dunne,
Eddie Pepperell, Yusaku Miyazato (JPN), Sean Crocker (USA), Jason Day
(AUS), Xander Schauffele (USA), Adam Scott (AUS), Brian Harman (USA),
Cameron Davis (AUS), Li Haotong (CHN), Andy Sullivan, Dylan Frittelli
72 - Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR), Satoshi Kodaira (JPN), Jason Kokrak
(USA), Alexander Bjork (SWE), Austin Cook (USA), Jorge Campillo (ESP),
Ryuko Tokimatsu (JPN), Justin Rose, Marc Leishman (AUS), Tommy
Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker (USA), Nicolai Hojgaard (x) (DEN), Gavin Green
(MAS), Lee Westwood, Jordan Spieth (USA), Kyle Stanley (USA), Stewart
Cink (USA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Sam Locke (x), Brooks Koepka (USA),
Haraldur Magnus (ISL), Matthew Fitzpatrick
73 - An Byeong-hun (KOR), Michael Hendry (NZL), Adam Hadwin (CAN),
Daniel Berger (USA), Ernie Els (RSA), Bernhard Langer (GER), Beau
Hossler (USA), Chesson Hadley (USA), Shubhankar Sharma (IND), Phil
Mickelson (USA), Lucas Herbert (AUS), Cameron Smith (AUS), Mark
Calcavecchia (USA), Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Michael Kim (USA), Russell
Knox, Alexander Levy (FRA)
74 - Brett Rumford (AUS), Bronson Burgoon (USA), Jordan Smith, Jazz
Janewattanamond (THA), Marcus Kinhult (SWE), Matt Wallace, Charl
Schwartzel (RSA), Retief Goosen (RSA), Shaun Norris (RSA), Branden Grace
(RSA), Rhys Enoch, Kelly Kraft (USA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA),
Julian Suri (USA), Peter Uihlein (USA), Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton,
Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP)
75 - Matt Jones (AUS), Ryan Armour (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN),
Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Bubba Watson (USA), Tom Lehman (USA), Todd
Hamilton (USA), George Coetzee (RSA), Charles Howell III (USA), Scott
Jamieson, Hideto Tanihara (JPN), James Robinson, Tom Lewis, Sergio
Garcia (ESP), Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Sandy Lyle, Patrick Reed (USA)
76 - Park Sang-hyun (KOR), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Dustin Johnson
(USA), Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Brandt Snedeker (USA), Anirban Lahiri
(IND), Jens Dantorp (SWE), Padraig Harrington
77 - Masahiro Kawamura (JPN), Shota Akiyoshi (JPN), Patton Kizzire (USA), Jonas Blixt (SWE)
78 - Kodai Ichihara (JPN), Ash Turner, Danthai Boonma (THA)
79 - Jack Senior, Jovan Rebula (RSA x), Choi Min-chel (KOR), Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Brady Schnell (USA)
80 - Marcus Armitage, Lin Yuxin Lin (CHN x), Andrew Landry (USA), Grant Forrest, David Duval (USA)
82 - Thomas Curtis, Masanori Kobayashi (JPN), Darren Clarke