Thursday at the AT&T National felt more like a Sunday.

It was Philadelphia's first PGA Tour event since 2002. But more to the point, it was the City of Brotherly Love's first chance to embrace Tiger Woods.

So those in the gallery gathered early at the first tee for his 12:56 p.m. starting time, stood 10 to 20 deep around tees and greens and lined the fairways just to catch a glimpse of the most famous athlete in the world.

Forget the fire hydrant. Forget Dr. Galea. Forget the divorce settlement. Forget the slump. Forget the unseemly sports talk radio appearance that morning of porn star and reported Woods mistress Devon James.

None of that mattered on a glorious day of bright sun, low humidity, gentle breezes and exciting prospects at Aronimink Country Club in Newtown Square.

Philadelphia's AT&T National debut couldn't have been better received. If Thursday is an indication of what Woods can expect every time he tees it up at Aronimink, this could eventually become the permanent home of his tournament, whatever form it takes.

"They were incredible today, absolutely incredible," Woods said of the fans after shooting a disappointing 73. "They were having a great time. Unfortunately we didn't give them much to cheer about."

And it wasn't just a Tiger crowd. It was a golf crowd. Even Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk was surprised.

"A lot of people were out there cheering for me, even at 8:26 on a Thursday morning," Furyk said. "[On Wednesday] I was surprised how many people came out to watch the pro-am."

The true test of Philadelphia's love for golf could come over the weekend, especially if the temperature rises and Woods misses the cut. It will take a significantly better round from him Friday to extend his stay.

How odd would it be for the host, who is not officially the host, to be out of his own tournament?

In this, the most upside-down year of his life, it might be appropriate.