If you watch Tiger Woods' first hole on Thursday at Quail Hollow, and his first hole only, you probably thought everything would be hunky-dory. Starting on the par-5 10th hole, Woods made birdie to start his round, was 1-under after one and off to a great start.
That was where the good news ended on Tiger's first nine holes since the Masters. A tough day all around for Tiger, Woods went out in 3-over 39, followed that up with a bogey on his 10th hole and was lucky to salvage a 2-over 74 at the Quail Hollow Championship.
Tiger's tough round can be credited to one thing and one thing only: ball-striking. Woods hit just 28.6 percent of his fairways on Thursday and just 50 percent of his greens in regulation, a stat Tiger normally dominates. A new shaft in the driver, it looked like Woods couldn't buy hitting a fairway, missing seven in a row at one point.
The struggles really started on the par-3 17th, his 8th hole, when Tiger hit his tee ball in the water, settled for a double-bogey and followed that up with a bogey on the always difficult 18th.
His round looked like it might be salvaged when he started making birdies on his final nine holes, but a late bogey on the 9th forced him to drop one more shot before the day was over.
Is this something we should be concerned with? Nope, not at all. It's a guy still shaking off the rust from many months away from tournament golf. Three weeks ago at Augusta, Tiger's opening 68 can be credited to great conditions, favorable pins and maybe a little adrenaline seeping out of his veins.
Quail Hollow is being compared to a major championship this week because of the conditions, so although he won't be happy with a 74, it isn't like he's completely out of the tournament.