Tiger Woods had high hopes for his first tournament following disappointing finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and Dubai Desert Classic.
If those hopes are to be fulfilled they'll be despite his first round performance and not because of it.
Woods made birdie at the last to save what would have been a not-good first round 72 and turn it into a not-too-awful first-round 71 (1 over for the tournament).
Here's a look at his up-and-down scorecard (he started on the back nine with eight straight pars):
I say "not awful" because it usually doesn't take a great score to par to win at the tough PGA National. The last seven winning scores: 9 under, 12 under, 9 under, 13 under, 9 under, 6 under, and 5 under.
Plus Woods shot a 62 on Sunday at this track back in 2012 when Rory McIlroy won so we know he's at least capable of some magic.
Tiger fans can also take solace in this:
60th time in Tiger's @PGATOUR career as pro he's opened with a round over par. Went on to win 4 of those events (23 times outside top-20).— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) February 27, 2014
Still, there's work to be done for the world No. 1 and he'll have to start with a decidedly better second round on Friday.
Woods didn't say much after his round as he's usually wont to do after middling performances like the one he gave on Thursday.
He did tell Golf Channel he didn't have it on a day when there were scores to be posted (early leaders were at 5 under).
"I didn't make much," said Woods. "The first four holes out of the gate I had four good looks, didn't make any of them. I didn't hit the ball very well on the back nine. I have to start putting better."
Woods did have chances on his first nine (the back nine on the course) and a few birdies littered in would have really buoyed his round. But like he said, he couldn't get it to fall in the cup.
As long as he keeps hitting fairways and greens (he was 67 percent on greens in regulation) I'm pretty confident the putting stroke will come.
I think he is, too.