McIlroy and Thomas have fond memories of Quail Hollow. It was his putter.
Woods couldn't navigate the greens here, which were replaced leading up to last year's PGA Championship and have significant bounce to them on approach shots. It's a very unusual combo to have firm [greens] but a little bit on the slower side. They feel springy and they feel fast, especially as I'm walking on them, but they're not putting that way. "I'm just kind of playing golf". Digging deep instead of getting discouraged, remaining calm instead of flashing anger, Woods called upon all his talents to shoot an uneven, even-par 71.
It was Woods' first time back in the public eye since that furious lead-up to the first major of the year, during which he evoked memories of the glory days with a T-2 finish at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
But he's tied for 34th after the first round, and even with poor putting, his ball striking will keep him in the hunt.
Woods started slow but made his first birdie of the day on the par-5 7th hole, and quickly followed that with a 28-foot putt that fell for a second-straight circle on the scorecard. He found another red number on the par-4 eighth where he knocked in a 28-footer for birdie.
"I think you may forget how much time it takes to practice and to get ready, and I have to spend the time to do it".
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The American responded by holing his bunker shot from the par-four seventh, after attempting to drive the 16th green off the tee, before holing out from the next fairway to post an eagle-two and set the clubhouse target.
Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow previous year, and Woods said the changes leading up to that event have made the course significantly longer and several holes are "more stout".
Brian Harman, last year's victor at Eagle Point Golf Club, could only manage a one-over 72. "We're all going to be close".
Woods hasn't played here since 2012 and this was largely a re-acclimation day for Woods and caddie Joe LaCava, who got a jumpstart by arriving to Charlotte on Sunday. Last year's PGA final round drew a 3.6 overnight TV rating, the second-lowest since at least 1995 according to Sports Media Watch.
Adam Warner is a big fan of Tiger Woods.
According to the PGA Tour, players not otherwise exempt who are inside the top-50 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday, April 30, qualified for THE PLAYERS. This group is in serious need of some energy, combining for zero birdies so far.1:54 p.m.: Woods' tee shot at the fourth came up woefully short, and his lengthy birdie putt came up seven feet short of the hole.