La Jolla - Tiger Woods insisted he could take positives from
a frustrating return at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday after carding
the worst season-opening round of his career.
The former world number one, who is battling back from a
more than one-year injury layoff, struggled to get to grips with Torrey Pines'
challenging South Course before posting a four-over-par 76.
It was the highest season-opening round Woods has ever
recorded, with his previous worst a 73 in 2015 at the Waste Management Phoenix
But the 41-year-old took encouragement from a battling
display in his first full-field event since 2015, which saw him move to one
under after 11 before a slew of bogeys on the back nine torpedoed his momentum.
"I fought my tail off out there, I fought hard,"
Woods said. "It was nice to put together a round when I wasn't hitting it
that great early.
"I was putting together the round. I was one under
through 11 and I was in a good spot to really shoot a good round today and
didn't really have my best stuff early.
"That's one of the positives I'm going to take out of
Woods is hopeful he can make inroads on Friday, when he
plays a North Course that could offer easier scoring conditions.
"We're going to go over on some better greens tomorrow,
some better conditions, and hopefully not only myself but the rest of the guys
can put up some good numbers."
Woods had opened with a bogey on the first after missing the
green with his second shot. He chipped his third to nine feet but missed the
subsequent putt to save par to move to one over.
It was emblematic of a scratchy front nine for Woods, who
was soon in trouble on the par-four second when his approach found the bunker
protecting the green.
He did well to get up and down in two though, draining an
eight-foot putt to save par and avoid consecutive bogeys.
He parred the next three holes without managing to carve out
any promising birdie chances, and was again frustrated on the sixth when a
16-foot birdie putt rolled just wide of the hole.
Three more pars closed out the front nine, with Woods
sending a 19-foot putt just wide to leave him one over at the turn.
His fortunes seemed to be turning on the 10th, when a
140-yard iron from the fairway rough presented him with a 10-foot putt for
He duly sank it to go back to level par and was soon
contemplating another birdie chance on the 215-yard par-three 11th when his
tee-shot went to 10 feet. He made that putt to go one under.
However just when it looked as if his momentum was picking
up, his round stalled on the 485-yard par-four 12th, when after needing three
shots to reach the green he was left with a 15-foot putt to save par.
He was unable to prevent the bogey and was back in trouble
on the 539-yard par-five 13th, when he three-putted from 50 feet for another
A further bogey on 14 - when a 15-foot par putt lipped out -
put him at two over.
It got worse on the 15th, when a wild tee shot flew wide of
the fairway and forced a drop, with his third shot landing in the rough still
216 yards from the pin.
His fourth for par left him 21 feet from the hole and he
two-putted for a double bogey to drift out to four over for the day.
Another bogey was offset with his closing birdie on 18.
"I just kept compounding problems and mistakes out
there," said Woods, who nonetheless was pleased with some of his ball
"I felt very comfortable, my feel was good. I hit some
good ones out there."
Playing partner Jason Day, the world number one, meanwhile
called on fans to be patient with Woods as he returns to golf.
"Having 17 months off is a very, very, long time,"
Day said. "We can't just break down everything he did today because it's
been 17 months.
"Let him go a year and go from there. That's the same
with us. We can't panic too much at the start of the year."