Tiger Woods said his goal with his new putter, a Nike Method, was to “get it rolling faster.” Thursday in the opening round of the British Open, Woods got it rolling with a 5-under-par 67, which could have been even better.
Three-putting from off the green at No. 17 and No. 18, Woods played the final two holes in 1-over, missing putts of 3 and 5 feet.
“I got the putter underneath me. It was going left all the way,” said Woods. “I did the same thing at 18.”
Woods had a brilliant ball-striking round, hitting 14 of 16 fairways and 17 greens in regulation. Officially, Woods took 32 putts with his new grooved-face putter.
“I rolled it good today, made some putts,” said Woods.
Woods played a stretch of eight holes in the middle of his round at 5-under, making consecutive birdies at Nos. 12, 13, and 14 to go to 6-under. Playing in the morning, Woods – as well as leader Rory McIlroy (63) – took advantage of benign conditions at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“We had the good weather today. There was actually no wind. It was like we were playing in a dome. It was a little awkward,” said Woods. “It was so odd to have it so calm.”
Woods was a decisve winner the last two times the British Open was played at St. Andrews (2000, 2005). His 19-under-par score in 2000, when he won by eight strokes, is the lowest in relation to par in the history of the tournament. When asked last month his ideal rotation for the four majors, Woods said, “I’d probably pick St. Andrews all four times.”
Six of the eight times Woods has shot 67 or better in the first round of a major, he has won. When he does it at St. Andrews, you'd have to think his odds are even better.