Cape Town - Tiger Woods admits the juices are flowing and he's once
again feeling that old competitive drive.
Woods opened with an impressive - if somewhat erratic - one-under-par
70 to lie tied-eighth after the opening round of the Valspar Championship.
It was an up-and-down day to be sure, with Woods mixing five
birdies with four bogeys, but considering how tough Innisbrook was playing,
it's fair to say this was the former World No 1's toughest test to date since
his return, and that he passed it with flying colours.
Consider that Woods was playing alongside major champions
Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson and comfortably outscored them both. Stenson
had a three-over 74, while Spieth fared even worse with a 76.
To lie just three shots off the lead was a more than
respectable return for Woods, and he admits he's really starting to enjoy
himself out there again.
"The [juices] are flowing. I'm revved up. I love
competition," he said after the round.
"I have a great pairing this week. Jordan [Spieth] and
Henrik [Stenson] are two great guys. Very competitive. Have had great years.
"I enjoy when par is a good score, it's a reward. There
are some tournaments when [after] about four holes you don't make a birdie and
you feel like you're behind.
"Today, made a couple of birdies, all of a sudden that
puts me fourth, fifth right away. That's how hard it is.
"It's the reward to go out there and make a couple
birdies here and there and I like that type of challenge.
"I feel like I'm pleased with every aspect of my
game," he added. "I drove it well, I hit a lot of good iron shots
today and had some good speed on the putts. I thought I really did well today
Woods survived one particularly nervy moment when his tee
shot on the par-four 16th ended up in front of a tree.
It made for an awkward stance to say the least and Woods
would make contact with the tree as he made his escape, but luckily there was
no serious injury.
"It didn't feel very good," Woods said. "I
moved all the people and even warned them in case the club breaks and gets over