Happy Masters Day for those who celebrate, as the PGA Tour’s premier event has arrived.
On this April weekend, 91 of the best golfers in the world will battle it out for the green jacket and a lifetime invitation back to Augusta National Golf Club. Through the duration of Round 1 on Thursday, OutKick will be following along with Tiger Woods, who returns to the Tour for the first time since 2020.
Woods, who has defied the odds and made it back after a near-fatal car accident in February 2021, is part of the Round 1 featured groups. Woods, Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann will tee off at 11:04 a.m. ET, and every shot will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Wow. That was as magical as the buildup. Woods went out Thursday and considering the layoff, as well as the injury, put up an excellent round of golf. It was chess, not checkers all day for Woods, who started off with a conservative approach off the tee box, but got more comfortable as the round went on.
Majority of his approach shots failed to outright hit the green or went short, making his -1, 71 performance all that more spectacular. When he needed a putt, he made it. And that was paramount as he soldiered his way through Augusta National.
“As the round built, I was able to get into the red but made two stupid mistakes back-to-back,” Woods said after his round. “I lost concentration but I’m right where I need to be.”
As for how he’ll feel in the morning, Woods said he’s headed straight to the ice bath in preparation for Round 2.
He’ll be back at it again on Friday, set to tee off at 1:41 p.m. ET. OutKick will have you covered once again as we track every shot and moment from Tiger at the 2022 Masters Tournament.
18th Hole: Holly- 465 yards, Par 4
He’s gonna wanna keep this right, away from the fairway bunker on the left. It’s about 280-285 yards up there. A very narrow tee shot with the trees ahead on both sides.
Oh my, things we didn’t need to see: A Tiger Woods tee shot going WELL left on No. 18. He’s done so much work to get to -1, would sting to see that go away at the end.
Great break for Tiger here, actually. Might not have a look at the green being 270 yards away just off the left side of the fairway. Ball landed in wet pine straw, was allowed to move into second cut. Second shot is short of the green, but in the fairway.
Good amount of limp walking up No. 18, but he’s not showing it on his face. Powering through. And a great shot to have an opportunity to save par. 78-yard chip spins back five feet from the pin. Patrons give him a deserved ovation as he walks up to the green.
AND HE BURIES IT!!! Tiger Woods at 46 years old, making his return to the PGA Tour after 504 days and a near-fatal car accident, has finished Round 1 at the Masters -1, shooting a 71, just three shots off the leader. A fabulous round all things considered.
Lots of smiles from Tiger as he walks past the patrons to the clubhouse. An awesome sight.
17th Hole: Nandina- 440 yards, Par 4
Rips another one, slightly off fairway to the right. For the most part, his driver has been pretty good today. 297-yard drive, 160 left. Woods is T-8 right now, which is just incredible when you think about it.
That’s a lovely approach shot on No. 17. One of his best of the day. DART CITY! About 15-feet for back-to-back birdies.
Unfortunately, it slides past the hole but he has a one-footer for par. Sinks that and remains -1 going into 18. Just a miraculous feat considering he’s had to scrap all day.
16th Hole: Redbud- 175 yards, Par 3
Yet another hole with more Tiger history tied to it. Need a refresher? No worries, we’ve got you covered.
Pin location is very deep today, essentially forcing you to play it short. Woods does that and has a decent look for birdie. 7-iron lands about 25-feet from the cup. He’s gonna have to steal one in these last three holes to be in good position going into Friday.
OHHHHH GET IN THE HOLE!!! First fist bump of the day and he absolutely NEEDED IT! Tiger moves back to -1 and the crowd is ELECTRIC.
15th Hole: Firethorn- 550 yards, Par 5
Tiger 100% needs a birdie or better here. Water will be a factor after the tee shot. He loves this one off the tee, sort of an unfortunate roll, however, ends up just off the left side of the fairway. With the hole being lengthened 20 yards this year, unlikely he’ll be able to get on the green in two.
Mentioned earlier that Dr. Chao wasn’t banking on Tiger being able to contend this weekend, but nearly 15 holes through, Chao says Woods is doing well, although the limp is starting to become more noticeable.
Wow, kicked far more left into the crowd than I imagined. He’s currently trying to find it among the patrons. Looks like he’s found it and he does have an angle. Okay… looks like they didn’t show his second shot, which ended up near the patrons. This is his third shot now, 123 yards to the cup.
Solid shot onto the green, maybe an outside chance of getting a birdie but wouldn’t bet on it. 25-30-footer. Everything is kicking back with his irons.
His birdie putt runs out of steam four inches out. Was perfectly on line but he settles for another par. Par 5’s have been crucial in his victories here, needs to pick it up in that department. Should be noted that the leader, Cameron Smith, has moved to -6 under through 16 holes.
14th Hole: Chinese Fir- 440 yards, Par 4
“Ugh, Tiger” immediately as he makes contact. Dropkick’s it well left into the pine straw it would appear. That’s his worst swing of the day. Still went 253 yards, 190 remaining.
That was VINTAGE Tiger Woods!!! The classic recoil that we saw so many times in the past, just beautiful. A violent swing to boot and he looked just fine. He rides it just past the green but that was certainly a highlight.
He goes with an iron instead of the putter and rides it past the hole. Lot of speed there but still in good shape for a par. About five-feet to stay one under.
That one is gonna sting. It doesn’t turn over and he has to settle for bogey. Drops back to even. Cameron Smith is your leader at -4.
13th Hole: Azalea- 510 yards, Par 5
He’s got that 3-wood stroke working right now, laces another one into the fairway 273 yards. 213 from the cup.
As we inevitably wait for Tiger’s approach shot (thanks, Bryson), here’s an opportunity to read up on Tiger’s f-bomb on No. 9 courtesy of OutKick’s Joe Kinsey.
Okay, folks. First eagle putt of the day for Tiger. He sticks the landing and will have a 24-foot look to go two under. Breathe, everybody, breathe… Damn, just dies short of the cup. But it’s a BOOM as he taps in for birdie! Second of the day, moves back to -1, two shots off the leaders.
12th Hole: Golden Bell- 155 yards, Par 3
If you recall, this is where Woods took control of the 2019 Masters en route to victory. Just keep it out of the water.
He does just that, will have a long birdie putt but the goal here was to keep her dry. And he did. This will be a 32-footer — already manifesting this into the hole. That putt didn’t turn like he wanted to, but that’s a good miss. About a foot for par.
Another par for Tiger to remain even through 12, lots of birdie holes coming up. Strap in.
11th Hole: White Dogwood- 520 yards, Par 4
Really demanding Par 4 here. Second-most challenging hole in Masters history.
Hmmm… not sure why the gallery and commentary was so quiet there. He landed that in the fairway with ease. Although, pretty hard to miss the fairway here. Second shot will be key with water in play. 283-yard drive, 242 to go.
A little perspective here while we wait of what it’s like to be Tiger Woods at the Masters.
Really don’t know why we’re waiting here. Tiger stretching often just to stay loose. After all that time, he hits a nice iron to the fringe of the green on the right, well away from the water. A big smile, seemed to hit that as well as any shot today.
HA! Of course it’s Bryson’s group ahead of Tiger’s! I think the mad scientist needs to figure out his equations quicker… Tiger uses what looks like a 6-iron and puts it three-feet from the cup. Beautiful shot.
And he sneaks it in on the left side of the cup. And more smiles and a great ovation as he tips the cap walking around Amen Corner. Even through 11.
10th Hole: Camellia- 495 yards, Par 4
This is a dogleg left off the tee box, has been one of the more challenging holes over the years.
He SMOKES it with authority, draws it perfectly along the dogleg about 300 yards. 175 or so remaining. Just not getting the breaks on the approach shots. Gives it a great swing, but too much spin, it hits the green short (again) and rolls off. Another chip uphill for him on his third shot.
Solid chip on but that’s gonna be a tedious putt to save par. Four-footer downhill to the left of the cup. Alas, he makes it look easy and sinks it. Remains even going to No. 11.
9th Hole: Carolina Cherry- 460 yards, Par 4
Tiger’s play has really started to turn. He bangs one left into the pine straw off the tee, but gets lucky and has a look at the green. Grimacing as he walked down the fairway. Approach shot is short and rolls off. Tiger says “fuck off” at the sight. Live broadcast picked it up. You love to see it.
Heavy chip on his third and he has a tough par putt once again. In danger of falling one over.
Great putt, great putt with speed. His biggest par save of the day and the patrons are lively once more. Overall, a couple shaky holes to end, but a successful front nine. We go to the back nine with Woods even, three shots off the leader.
8th Hole: Yellow Jasmine- 570 yards, Par 5
Second-longest hole at Augusta National, has a fairway bunker on the right about 300 yards out.
That is square in the middle of the fairway. Plays it nicely to take the bunker out of the equation. Might be the best of his drives today. That swing looks pure in every sense of the word. 280-yard drive, 269 to the cup.
After a nice pace to begin, the time in between shots has been increasing. Not sure what’s holding it up. Interesting second shot there. It lands well right and short of the green. About a 40-50-yard chip coming up.
Oof. Doesn’t fly well and he’s still in the rough. Stared at the ground for a few seconds after. The pace of play might be affecting him. Gonna need to nail his fourth shot to have a nice look at par. Should have been better on the fourth, he lands it 10-feet from the cup. Needs it to save par.
A missed opportunity there. Few bad swings and a rough par putt. Lands it short and taps in for bogey. Moving to the ninth with Woods even once again.
7th Hole: Pampas- 450 yards, Par 4
The worst shot of the day off the tee for Tiger. A very narrow fairway to begin with and he slices it into the thick stuff on the right under a tree. We’ll see what the view looks like to green, but not promising on first glance. So far today, nothing but pars and bogeys from the field on No. 7.
I mean, can’t really ask for a better effort there. Kept it low and rides it up just ahead of the bunkers off the green. Wow, he’s locked in. Flirts with a hole out on that birdie chip. Taps in his one-footer for par.
Tiger has gone through the gauntlet of the front seven and is -1 par with ZERO bogeys.
6th Hole: Juniper- 180 yards, Par 3
Second Par 3 of the day, bunker left and short of the green.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods is BACK. That is exquisite stuff right there. He throws the dart of all darts and has a one-footer for birdie. The playing with Tiger effect is truly back, as Oosthuizen has been unable to lock in.
Guess Oosthuizen found a phone and read my column… anyways, back to your scheduled programming. Tiger drains his first birdie at a PGA Tour event in 504 days. -1 going to No. 7.
5th Hole: Magnolia- 495 yards, Par 4
Let’s see if Tiger can have a callback to Jack Nicklaus in 1995. He holed this for eagle twice during that year’s Masters!
Now that was Tiger’s most aggressive swing yet. SMACKED it down the fairway and LOVED it right away. He’s really smackin’ the gum as well, which means he’s dialed in. 287 yards off the tee, 218 remaining, approach shot coming from the right side of the fairway.
Augusta National didn’t do them any favors with this pin location… tucked away to the left, any overhit will send it to the rough. WHAT. A. SHOT. Most difficult hole on the course and he’s in GREAT shape for a birdie. Throws a dart to within 10-feet. And the first big grin of the day!!
OH YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!! Tiger was walking it in, the eruption was building and it lips right out… another par to remain even. That place would have and I mean WOULD HAVE come unglued if that went in. We’re all channeling our best inner Happy Gilmore right about now…
Last time he birdied No. 5 came in 2002 and 2005… think those rounds ended pretty well for him.
4th Hole: Flowering Crab Apple- 222 yards, Par 3
Really tough pin location today on this one, sitting on the left side. He can’t afford to be conservative either. If he’s short once again, it will roll off the bottom and he’ll have to chip on two. We’ll see if he tries to split the bunkers and go for it, or go right where majority of the green is.
The swing looked GORGEOUS… tails off a little left and hits that part of the green where most roll off. Luckily, his only moves back slightly and he’s just on the fringe. That’s now four approach shots that have all landed below the hole. His longest putt of the day here, going uphill for birdie. But he wasn’t exactly pleased…
While we wait, just check out these crowds! Man, is it great to see this again. Hard to believe just over one year ago we thought his career was over. Never. Count. Tiger. Out.
Alright here we go… pretty good putt, all things considered. Nice line and lands it just a few feet ahead of the hole. He’ll have that for par. So far, he’s playing smart golf, not trying to force anything, taking what the course gives him. In other words, he’s playing cliché golf. But that’s not a bad thing.
Slams it in for par. Woods remains even as we head to the 5th. We’re moving at a good pace.
3rd Hole: Flowering Peach- 350 yards, Par 4
Alright, only Par 4 on the course that’s less than 400 yards. He plays an iron draw off the tee box, is pretty center down the fairway.
Woods’ second shot lands on the fringe below the hole. All three of his approach shots early on have landed below the hole. A very conservative approach. Birdie putt coming, 15-20 footer.
He HATES it. Swings the putter almost immediately after hitting it. Lands short of the cup, three-feet to save par. Anddddd he sinks it. Can’t ask for a better start, honestly. He’s even through three, one off the leaders. If he can steal a birdie here or there, he has a chance to be in the top-10 or better heading into Friday.
2nd Hole: Pink Dogwood- 575 yards, Par 5
Crowd can breathe as we head to the 575-yard, Par 5. Might have a chance to get on in two if he can stay away from the fairway bunkers. 3-wood is the choice of club on No. 2.
3-wood is the perfect choice as he lands it on the right side of the fairway, just short of the bunkers. About 270-275 yards on that one. Great point on TV broadcast. Nobody is running away, -1 is the top score with tough conditions. Tiger just needs to stay steady.
Tiger’s got 312 yards to go. OH HE LOVES IT. Strikes it with confidence and begins walking well before it lands before the bunker just off the green. He’s got a nice opportunity to give himself a great look at birdie here. About a 45-50-yard pitch coming.
Should be noted, no noticeable limp in his walking. That’s a great sign as Augusta National is the toughest course to walk. NBC’s Gary Koch told me last week that he used to get shin splints when he played here.
Drives it in low but not what he was looking for. TOUGH birdie putt coming up. 15-footer or so. If he makes this, Augusta National might ban a few patrons from attending ever again.
Looked good but just finishes left of the cup. He knocks it in for par and remains even through two.
1st Hole: Tea Olive- 445 yards, Par 4
Here. We. Go. For the first time since the 2020 Masters Tournament, Tiger Woods will tee off at Augusta National. This is not an easy hole to start with and ranks as the 5th toughest hole.
Not a great start for Woods. It appears his tee shot is in the right side bunker. Slight club twirl but not a shot that probably deserved one. But he’s out here, which is already great. Crowd is obviously quite large following him. Buckle up, folks, we’ve got 18 holes to go.
HUGE break for Woods. He’s just short of the bunker on the right side. Should have a decent look at the green, 175 yards from the hole.
Not the hit he wanted. It trickles off the front of the green and he’ll have to chip on three. On the bright side, the swing looks pretty good thus far. Woods’ short game will be tested right away. Lot of green to work with, but lots of slopes.
Not a bad effort there on the chip. He’ll have a manageable 10-foot or so putt to save par. BOOM. Tiger walks it in and saves for Par! Like he’s never left! Huge ovation and he’ll go into No. 2 even.
What Is Tiger Wearing?
If you’re new here, then you might not yet understand this one. Anticipation of what Woods is wearing is just as anticipated as his walk up to the tee box and Thursday’s choice appears to be a black signature Woods Nike hat, pink signature Woods Nike mock neck polo and black signature Woods Nike pants — only a outfit that Woods could pull off.
Can Tiger Contend?
Since Tiger is still recovering from injury, OutKick’s Dr. David Chao isn’t expecting him to be in contention. The course itself is challenging to walk, and will be even more so after thunderstorms rolled in Wednesday.
“Let’s cheer Tiger on for his comeback and hope for some early excitement,” Chao wrote. “However, in the end, it seems too much to ask for a Sunday red-shirted charge up the leaderboard.”
But don’t tell Woods that. He’s long said that he wouldn’t enter a tournament if he thinks he can’t win. Although this time around would appear to be different, Woods’ unparalleled confidence isn’t wavering one bit. Asked during Tuesday’s press conference if he thinks he can win, Woods was straight up with his answer.
“I do,” Woods said.
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While Woods winning would be the ultimate sports moment, rivaling his victory at Augusta National in 2019, OutKick’s Clay Travis is putting his money elsewhere.
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“I hope that I am wrong,” Travis said. “I hope that he [Woods] puts everybody’s doubts into his driver and uses it as motivation.”
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