AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods' first round back at the Masters since he finished T17 in 2015 did not go as well as we thought it might. Woods shot a 1-over 73 that included four bogeys and three birdies, and it could have been worse if not for a couple of well-timed par saves. There weren't any particular shortcomings in Woods' game that stood out -- he hit eight fairways and 11 greens in regulation -- but his overall performance lacked the sharp point we'd seen through five PGA Tour events in his latest comeback.

I picked Woods up on the first hole after he'd overcooked a drive off the first tee into the left pine straw (a theme throughout Thursday's round). He made a tough par from there and roasted a drive on No. 2. After a bailed-out second shot, though, Woods settled for par at one of the easier holes on the course (another theme!) 

He torched another tee ball on No. 3 and got up and down for birdie on the sort-of-drivable par 4. It was the opposite of the stress-free golf we've seen from so far this year. He suppressed a nervous smile after sinking a tricky birdie putt. If the first three months of Woods' comeback were remembering how to ride a new bicycle, this was him trying to drive a different vehicle altogether. It wasn't awful, per se, but it was just a little off.

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Woods finished up his first nine with a 1-over 37 before opening the second nine with two bogeys in the first three holes. His second came after hitting a ball in the water on No. 12, and he had to make a 15-footer to avoid a double. 

He sandwiched a birdie at the toughest hole on the course (the par-4 14th) with pars at two of the three easiest holes (Nos. 13 and 15) including another yanked drive into the straw on No. 15. That was a microcosm for his outing. Up when he should be down and down when he should be up.

"It was interesting," Woods told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi after the round. "It was up and down for me today. I had some opportunities to make some birdies and didn't do it. I played the par 5s very sloppily today, and l played [them] in even par. That was the difference. ... Play those even halfway decent, and I'm under par for the day."

Woods closed with a birdie at No. 16 and a pair of pars for the 1-over 73. Woods' score is not terrible given that the average score on the day at the time he finished was 2-over 74, but it's certainly not what we expected from a rejuvenated Tiger playing the best golf we've seen him play in five years. 

His 73 is his sixth Masters first round over par but just his second in a decade. In three of the previous five tournaments where Woods shot over par in Round 1, he went on to finish the event inside the top five.

It's well-documented that Woods' rounds are marked by ear-splitting roars, but Thursday's round -- when I trailed it -- was somewhat strangely defined by silence. A lazy Thursday inside Augusta National was filled with a surreal quietness when Woods had a club in his hand. That part was awesome, but there was also a muted frustration from a gallery that had three months worth of fervor pent up ready to unleash. They got mostly nothing for the first 13 holes. 

There were moments, but there weren't as many as we maybe expected. The weekend looms, and Tiger certainly isn't out of it (he trailed the leaders by five when he finished his round).

Thursday, however, was a slight shuffle sideways on the long road back to greatness for the best to ever tee it up.