AUGUSTA, Ga. — Even Houdini couldn’t escape them all.
A day that began with Tiger Woods getting out of trouble on the first two holes ended with his wayward tendencies off the tee finally catching up with him.
The scorecard says Woods shot 72, a ho-hum, even-par round that would seem unremarkable.
It was anything but.
It was a wild ride right from the start and it didn’t end until he got up and down for bogey on the final hole. Along the way there were a couple of penalty drops, shots off pine straw and some of the wildest tee shots you
“I hit some of the worst golf shots I’ve ever hit today,” Woods said. “I squeezed a lot out of that round.”
The start wasn’t what Woods had hoped for, especially considering he spoke just two days earlier about how straight he was driving the ball.
He pulled his opening tee shot and the ball hit the pines on the left and almost bounced back toward the ninth fairway. He hooked his long second shot off the pine straw to just in front of the green and managed to get up and down for par.
It was an early test of his nerves and they passed with flying colors.
At the par-five second, another pulled tee shot left Woods in a hazard. After taking a penalty drop, he smacked the ball down near the green and managed another chip and putt for par.
Two holes into his latest quest for his fifth green jacket, Woods was even par. He could have been two or three over.
It was the kind of start that would have crippled a lesser player. Instead, Woods birdied the third to get under par, and he was seemingly on his way.
After a bogey at No. 7, Woods used birdies at the eighth and 10th holes to get to two under.
That’s where he stayed until the 17th, where he pulled another tee shot and made bogey.
That left him one more chance to miss a fairway and he took advantage of the opportunity. After hitting another drive into the trees, he had to take an unplayable lie. A heroic up-and-down allowed Woods to make a bogey and finish the round at even.
“Didn’t hit it very good at all,” Woods said. “Warmed up bad and it continued on the golf course. I just felt my way around today.”
While the rest of the field was feasting on the par-fives — Henrik Stenson was five under on them — Woods managed only one birdie on the long holes. He parred the two back-nine par-fives, holes where he is a combined 84 under par in his previous 17 Masters appearances.
Woods came in with all kinds of confidence after winning at Bay Hill. Some experts claimed he was hitting the ball better than ever. Instead, he missed 8 of 14 fairways.
“Some of my old stuff from a few years ago,” he said. “Every now and again it pops up. And today it popped up.”
When Woods headed to the range he was three shots out of the lead, so it wasn’t a fatal day. But he knows he has to show some improvement.
“This golf course is playing too difficult to go super low on,” he said.
Especially from the woods.