Tiger Woods birdied the first hole at Royal Lytham-St. Anne’s, setting the stage for what he called a “beautiful round” of golf to start the British Open.
“I’m right there,” he added.
Woods finished with a three-under 67, leaving him three shots behind Adam Scott, who fired a six-under 64. Scott, you’ll recall, employs Woods former caddie, Steve Williams.
On an atypical day for the Open Championship — that is, there was little wind and soft greens — Woods attacked the course without fear. After seven holes he was four-under and held the lead. He ended up giving back a shot, but he prevented the round from going the other way.
As always, the key to playing well for Woods is how he drives the ball off the tee and how well he putts. In round one, Woods did not miss a fairway until hole No. 15, when he found the waist-high rough that was so thick he needed two shots to get his ball back in play.
As for putting, Woods left four putts short on greens that were slower than normal because of rain. “Every putt was starting [on] all my lines just needed to hit six inches to a foot harder,” he said.
How’s this for an omen: Wood’s birdie on 1 was the first time he’s begun a British Open with a red number since 2001. And this: Woods opened his three British wins with rounds of 67, 66 and 67.
Woods is seeking his 15th major championship in his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18. Woods has not won a major in four years. Injuries and his widely reported personal problems that led to a divorce stunted his remarkable track. But he has insisted he is on the proper course, and a solid Day 1 at the British Open is not only a good start, it’s a hopeful one for Woods.