WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 5: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC on July 5, 2012 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Poor putting puts Tiger Woods back in the pack at Sam Snead's old stomping grounds.
Tiger Woods struggled with his flat stick, and it cost him in the opening round of the Greenbrier Classic.
Making his Greenbrier debut on Thursday, Woods left The Old White TPC course in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., at 1-over 71, eight strokes back of Vijay Singh, the early leader in the clubhouse. While he got off to a fast par-birdie-birdie start, an ugly double-bogey on No. 17, three bogeys, and two more birdies amounted to a lackluster result on a day when the course was likely to yield a bunch of low scores.
“Absolutely, it is [set up for scoring],” Woods told Doug Bell of SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio following his round that started on No. 10. “You get it on the fairway here, you’re going to have a lot of 9-iron on down [into the greens] and you can attack this golf course ... Most scores, probably at least 2-under-par or better, and most guys can be pretty aggressive here.”
Woods found only 10 fairways and 12 greens in regulation, but the putting surfaces themselves were his downfall. Misses like a five-foot putt for par on the 13th and a two-footer for bogey on 17 after spraying his tee shot into the water on the right added up to a total of 31 short strokes for the day.
Quite a difference from his winning performance at last week’s AT&T National, where he averaged 28 putts per round and ranked ninth in strokes gained-putting.
“I didn’t just quite have my game or didn’t have the speed on the greens,” Woods said before grabbing a bite to eat and heading to the practice range. “It was quite a big adjustment from playing my last three events on the green speeds so I struggled a little with that.”
The good news for Woods, who would chip away further at Sam Snead's all-time wins record of 82 with a victory at one of Slammin' Sammy's favorite haunts, was that he was over par after his first round last week at Congressional Country Club. Woods came back to grab his 74th tour triumph.