Considering where Tiger Woods was a week ago, his 1-under 71 in the first round of the 2019 BMW Championship has to be considered a success. But with the rest of this field playing far better on this 7,600-yard course after 18 holes, the success that Woods saw on Thursday was rather limited in comparison.
Let's take a deep dive into Woods' first round at Medinah Country Club in what will likely be his last event of the PGA Tour season unless he pulls off a near-miracle over the final three rounds of action this weekend.
Front nine (1-under 35): After displaying little to no game for most of the last three months following his win at the Masters and withdrawing from last week's Northern Trust, of course Woods birdied two of the first three holes because ... golf. He also birdied the fifth hole but gave a pair back on that side -- the second coming on a three-putt from 40 feet -- to go out in 1-under 35.
Back nine (even-par 36): It was a pretty ho-hum second nine for Woods. He had a handful of good birdie looks at 12 feet or closer but only made one of them -- a 4-footer on the par-4 11th hole. Toss in a missed green on the par-4 16th, and you get that 36 on a side where the field was averaging a shade under 35.
What went well: Tiger hit his irons crisply for the most part, and -- maybe even more importantly -- his swing looked good, fluid and pain-free. It creates some interesting questions for his future, though, because this week seems to confirm what's been bouncing around for a few months now. We have no idea what we're getting from event to event and maybe even from day to day. Still, Woods was convinced his body was doing better going into this tournament, and his first round showed it.
What went poorly: It's odd to say "the rest of the field," but it was a tough go for anybody around even par on Thursday. Woods was a little crooked off the tee and didn't have as many scoring opportunities as most golfers because of it.
Medinah is a 7,657-yard course with a rating of 78.3 and a slope of 152.— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) August 15, 2019
There are currently 69 players on the golf course — 67 of them are at even par or better.
Where he stands: Woods is well outside of where he needs to be to make it into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings and onto the Tour Championship next week. He came in at 38th in the standings, and after Round 1, he's projected to drop around 10 spots. Unfortunately for him, he needs to move up 10 spots.
What's next: Still, there's a ton of golf left and Woods will almost certainly play the weekend (barring injury) in this no-cut event. However, he'll have to get after it on Friday and Saturday to give himself a chance to play his way into the top 10 on Sunday, which would get him to East Lake next week. His game looks decent enough to at least have a chance, but he'll still have to go out and actually take advantage of an opportunity he may not of thought he would have this time last week.