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We’re used to seeing Tiger Woods struggle at majors.
We’re used to seeing Tiger Woods produce brilliance at majors.
We’re not really all that accustomed to seeing both in the same round, but that’s what we got Thursday in the opening round of the U.S. Open. Woods finished the day at +3, better than it could have been — he carded a 76 the last time he opened a U.S. Open at Winged Foot — but considering how well Woods was putting, there was definitely a sense that he missed opportunities. And a late bogey-double bogey stumble will linger longer than any fond memories of the round.
Woods was reading the greens like it was 2000 again, draining long-range putts that kept him from sabotaging his own card with too many wayward drives. This curling beauty was one of three in a row that Woods made at the turn:
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) September 17, 2020
Woods carded five birdies on the day, which normally would be cause for celebration except for the fact that he also carded six bogeys and one double.
Woods got an object lesson in how brutal the rough can be. Every time he drifted even a few feet off the fairway, he had to hack out of ankle-deep rough. And then there was this:
Strangely enough, Woods was sandwiched between two extremes in his grouping: PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa finished at +6, while Justin Thomas used a long birdie putt on the 18th to finish at -5 and in solo possession of the clubhouse lead.
Woods closed out his own day by going bogey-double bogey, including a truly wretched chunk at the bottom of the mountainside that is the 18th green. That’s not the way you want to go out, but if Woods can focus on the positives, he ought to be able to fight his way into the weekend.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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