Tiger Woods Struggles in Return to the Green

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By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | June 27, 2014 2:14 PM EST

After three long months of waiting, fans of Tiger Woods got a glimpse of the superstar. The comeback was successful, the results were not.

Reuters
Jun 26, 2014; Bethesda, MD, USA; Tiger Woods chips onto the green on the 15th hole during the first round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club - Blue Course.

While Woods is in danger to miss the cut for just the first time in two years after his showing in the opening round of the Quicken Loans National, he still felt that he had a "fantastic" return after months removed from the back ailment.

Yahoo! Sports reports that the superstar golfer opened with two straight bogeys, and struggled in the middle stretches but got his rhythm late finishing a 3-over-74, tied for 83rd in the pack.

''I made so many little mistakes,'' Woods said. ''So I played a lot better than the score indicated.''

Congressional made life hard for him all throughout the day, as so did the other players. The patch was so rough that it made any shot that got off the fairway, careened and buried. Even power players had a difficult time putting their ball on green and struggling to make par on long shots.

At the end of the day, Greg Chalmers led with a 66 after three straight birdies and edged out Ricky Barnes and Freddie Jacobson for a one shot lead. U.S. Open runner-up Erik Compton, Bill Hass, Patrick Reed and Tyrone Van Aswagen all shot 68 to complete the upper echelon.

The story of day was still all about Tiger Woods.

The sport's biggest draw expectedly hauled the crowds in, with a number of spectators in the patio and veranda of the famed clubhouse at the Congressional. The viewers did not get much of a show but at least got a glimpse of a healthy Woods. He looked as rusty as he did last year, giving away shots in his short game, missing easy chips and putts he normally makes with ease.

The most telling was a 50-foot-putt that his missed that went away 18 feet from the hole. He also missed consecutive 6-foot-putts that would have yielded a birdie and a par.

Luckily, he found some rhythm in the final stages to salvage his performance for the day. He hit an approach from 196 yards on the 467-yard fourth hole to three feet. He ended with short birdie putts on the par-3 seventh and short par-4 eight by using the angular slopes and position the ball closer to the holes.

His body language all throughout the day was the most positive sign of his game. Woods did not show ill effects on his back especially when he crouched and get up back to mark the balls. He also showed no ill-effects on his swing which is a sign of encouragement for the troublesome back.

''The back's great,'' Woods said. ''I had no issues at all - no twinges, no nothing. It felt fantastic. That's one of the reasons why I let go on those tee shots. I hit it pretty hard out there.''

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(Photo: Reuters / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
Jun 26, 2014; Bethesda, MD, USA; Tiger Woods chips onto the green on the 15th hole during the first round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club - Blue Course.
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