By Jay Coffin
Tiger Woods played Monday in Ireland, marking his first competitive round since he withdrew following the third round of the PGA Championship back in May.
A smattering of the world’s best showed up to the JP McManus Pro-Am, a 36-hole event at Adare Manor, with 50 professionals playing stroke play alongside three amateur partners playing a scramble. Adare Manor is scheduled to host the 2027 Ryder Cup.
The score didn’t matter to Woods, although you can bet the 15-time major champ was still a tad miffed that they all added up to five-over 77 at the end of the day. He was in good spirits from beginning to end, drove the ball incredibly well but did not display the trademark short game that we’ve seen so often over the past quarter-century.
Woods arrived on the tee and was promptly introduced as, “the one, the only Tiger Woods.” The gallery was enormous and showed support for Woods all day as he’s using this two-day event to start preparation for the 150th Open Championship next week at the Old Course in St. Andrews. He showed the same noticeable limp that he displayed at both the Masters and PGA Championship and he did have a golf cart available, although he walked fairly often. Friend and longtime business partner Rob McNamara served as Woods’ caddie.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get my cart around here,” Woods joked regarding the large gathering of people surrounding the first tee.
Woods made double bogey on the second hole when he failed to get up and down and missed a six-footer for bogey. On the fifth hole he was short with his approach and used putter but the ball stopped at the top of a hill and rolled back near his feet. He hit another poor chip on the par-5 seventh hole but was able to then get up and down for par. On the par-5 ninth hole Woods hit driver off the deck for the second shot and lost it way right of the fairway. That led to another bogey. There were a couple other small hiccups over the closing holes, but nothing significant.
“Just don’t look at our scorecard, but we’re having fun,” Woods said during the round.
The two highlights came on the 10th and 12th holes. Woods hit a pitching wedge to three feet for an easy birdie on the par-4 10th hole, then chipped in for eagle on the par-5 12th.
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) July 4, 2022
Xander Schauffele, continuing strong play from his Travelers Championship victory a week ago, made eight birdies to shoot eight-under 64. He leads Rickie Fowler by three shots and Tyrrell Hatton by four at the end of the first round. All three major winners from this year are in the field. World No. 1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler shot 75, PGA champion Justin Thomas shot 72 while U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick shot 78.
Seamus Power and Shane Lowry were low Irishmen on the day and are tied for fourth place at 69. Ireland’s Leona Maguire, winner on the LPGA and a huge contributor to Europe’s Solheim Cup win last fall, is the only woman in the field. She recorded three birdies and three bogeys to shoot 72.
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