Tiger Woods’ game shows signs of rust at Wells Fargo Championship

Nobody, not even Tiger Woods, knew how his first competitive round in three weeks would go.

After walking off the 18th hole at Augusta National following a final round 2-over 74 that saw him finish T40, the worst finish of his Masters career, many wondered which version of Tiger Woods would show up at Quail Hollow.

Earlier in the week, Woods confirmed during his video Q&A that the swing issues he had at the Masters had been rectified. But following Thursday's opening-round 1-under 71 at the Wells Fargo Championship, that appeared to be far from the case.

The Tiger Woods we saw on Thursday looked rusty during his opening nine holes, hitting a number of wayward drives into the crowd and a couple of chips that had him rehearsing his swing over and over again.

But it wasn't all bad news on the day. After going out in 1-over 37, Woods seemed to find something on the back nine, using a 2-iron off the tee on a number of holes in an effort to find the fairway. While the decision was certainly made on the fly, it worked.

Woods managed to roll in a couple of birdie putts to come home in 2-under 34, going bogey-free over his final nine holes. Even more impressive was the up-and-down he made on the 18th hole (his ball moved to within a couple feet of the creek on the left side of the hole), lofting his shot from the short side of the green to within four feet and converting the par putt.

Woods certainly kept himself in contention -- he's six shots back of Webb Simpson, Stewart Cink and Ryan Moore -- and based on the way things were going early on, hitting 12 greens, eight fairways and still managing to post an under-par round has to be viewed as a positive.

Unlike at the Masters where the wheels came off and Woods couldn't find a quick fix, he somehow managed to diagnosis the problem and turn a negative into a positive.

He'll need to find his swing over the next couple of days if he wants to contend on Sunday, but for the moment, Woods managed to keep the damage to a minimum after a long layoff. That's all he can ask for at the moment.