TIGER WOODS had the folks round him falling about with laughter as he recalled seeing a unadorned couple romping on the seashore on a earlier go to to Torrey Pines.
And the previous world No 1 loved his personal pleased ending, as a vital birdie on the ultimate gap ensured he would make the reduce in his eagerly-awaited comeback occasion, the Farmers Insurance coverage Open.
Woods was responsible of some X-rated stuff himself, particularly off the tee. He hit simply three fairways, and frequently had the spectators diving for canopy with some wild drives.
He flirted with the reduce line all day, however his sensible brief sport got here to his rescue, a lot to the reduction of his enormous military of followers.
He clawed his method again from two over par to at least one below with 4 late birdies, though there was virtually a depraved sting within the tail. A 17th gap bogey threatened to have him packing his luggage, earlier than the profitable salvage operation on the final.
Regardless of the data that he confronted a grim battle to make it by means of to the weekend, Woods was in a fun-loving temper early on.
He took nice enjoyment of pointing to the shoreline simply behind one of many tee containers, and figuring out the precise spot the place the pair have been frolicking – oblivious to the truth that one of many largest tournaments on the calendar was going down.
Woods, 42, broke into an enormous grin as he recalled the story – however he had valuable little else to smile about in his first 9 holes.
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As a substitute of the victory bid his supporters have been hoping for, the previous world No 1’s return to motion descended right into a grim battle, and his expression grew an increasing number of stony-faced.
Beginning on the par 5 tenth on the better North Course – with a driveable par 4 to observe – ought to have supplied Woods the right alternative to make the quick begin he wanted after a so-so first spherical 72.
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That even par start left him outside the projected cut line, but he did himself no favours by carving his tee shot so far left it was closer to the first fairway on the South Course than the stretch of short stuff he was aiming for.
It was a taste of things to come, and Woods had to settle for par after that. He then did well not to drop a shot at the 11th after a careless chip from just short of the green ran through the back.
He poured in an eight footer for par, but failed to repeat the trick for birdie on the 202 yard 12th after a brilliant seven iron – easily his best shot so far.
But another wiild drive on the 13th – again missing way to the left – forced Woods to take a penalty drop.
That led to a double bogey six that dropped him to two over par, and at joint 125th in the 156-man field – with only the top seventy guaranteed to make it through to the weekend – the cut line looked a long way off.
Bu things started to change at his tenth hole, where Woods drained a fifty footer for his first birdie.
That brought a trademark Tiger roar followed by the fist pump that was never far away when he was racking up his 14 Major victories.
His monster birdie putt was greeted by a loud yell of “Way to go Tiger, right in the gut – you can still win this.”
That is not going to happen, especially with Ryan Palmer ten shots ahead of Woods, with defending champion Jon Rahm just a shot behind the leader.
But Woods provided hope of a brighter future with further birdies at the fifth and seventh, before putting his followers through the wringer again over the closing stretch.
This was the first time Woods had survived the cut in a full field tournament since August 2015, and he commented: “I fought hard to post the number I needed, but it was fun to be out there competing again.
“Fighting like that is something I have done my entire career. I had to hii some really good shots on that back nine, and I did that.
“It’s been a long 12 months battling back from the surgery, and I’m still trying to get my feel back. It’s one thing to hit shots in practice – you are going to hit them further with the adrenaline going, and I am still learning how much further.”