Tiger Woods struggled in the opening round of the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland, yet still had some signature moments.
Competing for the first time in public since withdrawing after a third-round 79 at the PGA Championship in May, Woods was all smiles as he partook in the first round of the 36-hole event at Adare Manor. The 46-year-old faced off against a star-studded lineup of 50 professionals participating in stroke play beside three amateur partners playing a scramble. Attendants included this year’s major champions Scottie Scheffler (75), Justin Thomas (72) and Matt Fitzpatrick (78), as well as stars Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson.
Woods drove the ball extremely well throughout the contest, but encountered difficulties when it came to his iron play and customarily flawless short game. He and his team finished the day at five-over 77, a forgettable score that the 15-time major champ didn’t seem too concerned about.
“The team’s doing great,’’ Woods said mid-round. “Just don’t look at our scorecard. But we’re having fun.’’
Despite being provided a golf cart, Woods predominantly walked the course, displaying the same visible limp he had at the Masters and PGA Championship. He finished the afternoon 43rd out of 50 players in what he is using as a warmup for next week’s British Open.
In spite of the disappointing performance, Woods did leave the day with two strong highlights. On the par-4 10th hole, Woods struck a pitching wedge to three feet for a seamless birdie. Later on at the par-5 12th hole, he chipped in for an eagle.
Woods will look to build upon these strong shots next week at the 150th Open Championship, which will be held at the Old Course in St. Andrews. He’s had success at this course in the past, winning the major in 2000 and 2005.