Wayward Woods struggles early at the Memorial Tournament
Tiger Woods was paying the price for his wayward form off the tee after slumping to three over par through nine holes in round one of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.
Starting on the back nine with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, Woods, in a telling assessment of his game early on, bogeyed his first par five and doubled the second one, the types of holes he has feasted on in his career and most recently in his comeback this season.
The 14-time major champion's main problem was accuracy off the tee, blowing his effort at the 15th out of bounds to the right, the ball winding up in the back yard of a house adjacent to the course, leading to a seven that left him three over through six holes.
The wheels came off further when a par putt at the following hole failed to land, leaving him at four over through seven.
An OB tee shot leads to a double bogey on the par-5 15th for Tiger Woods.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 31, 2018
He's +3 on the two par-5s today. pic.twitter.com/f07HBOeHZc
Woods clawed a stroke back at his eighth hole, hitting a fairway for only the second time on his first nine holes, and followed up by knocking his approach to 12 feet and sinking the putt.
That shot pulled him away from dead last among players who were out on the course early on Thursday. Thomas was even par and Fowler one over with as the threesome started their second nine.
In contrast, American Beau Hossler was setting the morning pace at Muirfield Village, sitting at six under through 12 holes late in the morning.
Tiger's par putt on the 16th hole lips out.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 31, 2018
He drops to +4. pic.twitter.com/GD9GY87Lm7
Woods has won the Memorial five times, most recently in 2012, and has never missed the cut in 15 tries.
But in his most recent appearance in 2015 at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event, when Woods was in the throes of back problems, he shot his highest score as a pro - an 85 in the third round. He teed off alone in the final round and finished dead last.