As a golfer you're always grinding to get your score just one shot lower. A birdie here, a par save there, and that 74 might be a 73, or that 80 might be a 79.
For Tiger Woods, a birdie putt on the 18th hole on Thursday would have meant an opening round in the 60s for just the second time in his career at the Masters. However, in a weird way, it might have worked out better that it didn't go in. That's because when Tiger opens with a round of 2-under 70, like he did on Thursday, it's usually a pretty good omen for the week.
In three of Tiger's four Masters wins, he shot a first-round 70, and only once before has he posted 2-under and not gone on to win (that happened in 2009). After play finished on Thursday, Tiger sits just four shots back of leaders Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia, with 12 players ahead of Tiger as he sits in a tie for 13th.
So how did Tiger get there? Woods started his bid for a 15th major championship in the form that we've become accustomed to seeing in 2013, by making clutch putts to start his round. Tiger wasn't initially sharp off the tee, but rolled in a few par putts and finally carded a birdie on No. 6. His birdie on the par-5 eighth bucked the trend Tiger had going a year ago at Augusta when he didn't take advantage of the par-5s, and his birdie on No. 13 was his first on a back nine par-5 since 2011.
Still, Tiger dropped a shot on No. 14 with a three-putt and couldn't convert a short birdie putt on 15. His round ended with 30 putts, and despite being four shots back told ESPN after that he was very satisfied with how he played.
Woods didn't do anything incredibly well on Thursday. He hit nine fairways and 13 greens and didn't really cash any crazy putts, but the point of the first round at this major championship is to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
An opening 70 by Tiger is exactly what he needed, and if there were any nerves there to start this Masters, they seem all but done. Woods is in a perfect spot with 54 holes left.