St Andrews: Tiger makes poor start

-Ikenna Okafor

Tiger Woods’ days at the highest level look to be a thing of the past as he laboured to a round of 78 in the opening 18 holes at the Open Championship.He arrived at St Andrews, the scene of two of his three Open wins, with questions hanging over his longevity in the game.

With his leg injury clearly a massive cause of concern, Woods was a shadow of his former self on the Old Course on Thursday.Woods offered promising signs in practice, but it unravelled from the second shot onwards.He found the middle of the fairway on the opening hole, but was unfortunate to see his ball come to a stop in a divot.

He hit the second extremely fat, and it took one bounce before dropping in the burn. The former world No. 1 failed to get up and down and walked off with a double bogey.Further bogeys followed on three and four as he struggled with distance control, repeatedly coming up short of the target.The ship appeared to settle with pars on five and six, but he found a bunker off the tee on seven.

The pot bunkers at St Andrews are penal, and it resulted in the second double bogey of the round to drop to six-over after seven holes. He gave hope to his legion of supporters, and there was no shortage of encouragement on the course, with back-to-back birdies on nine and ten.

At the peak of his powers, Woods was the greatest clutch putter to grace the game. The 12th was an example of how that is no longer the case, as he pulled a six-footer for birdie left off the club face and it did not threaten the hole.The 13th was brutally tough with the pin placed just behind the bunker guarding the front. Woods was unable to get close with his second and a three-putt bogey saw him drop back to six-over.

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