Tiger Woods got off to a rough start on Thursday at the Quicken Loans National with a back-nine 39 but recovered nicely with a 35 on the front to shoot a respectable 3-over 74.
I say respectable for two reasons.
One, Congressional Country Club is playing very tough.
Had to check the calendar. US Open was two weeks ago, right? Hardest I've seen congressional play since '97.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) June 26, 2014
Two, it's hard to come back from major back surgery.
Tiger said as much on Tuesday morning.
"I just haven't had the amount of prep and reps that I would like, but I'm good enough to play, and I'm going to give it a go" he said.
Tiger was actually pretty good off the tee from the start but struggled into the greens (he missed seven of his first 12 greens in regulation) and his putter (of all things) left him early.
Here's a look at his card:
He didn't sound too upset after his round, either.
"The score is not really indicative of how I played," said Woods. "I played better than that."
As you can see he had to dig out of a big hole on his second nine (he started at No. 10). Shots like this one on No. 4 for birdie were helpful.
Woods closed with three birdies in his last six holes and, more importantly for him over the course of the next few months and years, no pain in his back.
"Back is great," said Woods. "I had no issues at all...I feel fantastic. I think the hard part was getting into the rhythm of playing again competitively. Unfortunately it took a while."
This isn't much more than a trial run for the British Open at Royal Liverpool and the rest of the season. If he makes the cut, great, if he doesn't, it's far from panic time.
To be honest, it's just good to see him playing some golf again.