Tiger Woods never looked more lost on the golf course Friday on his way to an 82, the worst score of his career.
In his first appearance at the TPC Scottsdale in 14 years — and only his second tournament in six months — Woods couldn’t hit the green with three chip shots and was near the bottom of the leaderboard until two key shots on the back nine salvaged a 2-over 73.
Except for flu-like symptoms on Saturday, Woods said he went 72 holes without feeling any pain in his back. He had back surgery a week before the Masters, and then took off the last four months to strengthen his muscle structure.
Woods lost his voice overnight and had nausea on the practice range and the golf course. He felt slightly better at the end of his round when he made three straight birdies for a 69.
Woods is playing for the first time since Aug. 9 at the PGA Championship. He took nearly four months off to strengthen his muscle structure, and during the time away, he hired a new swing coach. His swing looks fine. His short game does not.
Woods flubbed four chips, had only four birdie chances inside 20 feet and stumbled to a 5-over 77 in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge.
Woods is playing in his Hero World Challenge, which starts Thursday in his old neighborhood of Isleworth. It will be his first competition since he missed the cut on Aug. 9 at the PGA Championship. He wanted to make sure his body was stronger.
“Phil Mickelson should be the next captain and play at Hazeltine. Phil seems to thrive on Ryder Cup competition, does well when he plays. He knows everything about the Ryder Cup, so maybe it should be him or Tiger who should be the next captain. We’ve had playing captains over the years, so why not in 2016?”
Watson closed with a 2-under 70, a score that doesn’t even begin to describe his wild ride — an eagle, birdie, par, bogey and double bogey filled his scorecard over the last five holes.
President Obama is talking trash with former NBA star Michael Jordan over the quality of their golf games.
Ted Bishop was ousted Friday as president of the PGA of America over a sexist tweet and Facebook post directed at Ian Poulter.
“I regret that my words may have made the players feel that I didn’t appreciate their commitment and dedication to winning the Ryder Cup,” Watson said in a statement issued Saturday through the PGA of America. “My intentions throughout my term as captain were both to inspire and to be honest.”