Tiger Woods Shoots One-Under-Par Round On Masters Return

Making his first appearance in 508 days, Tiger Woods produced a quite remarkable one-under-par first round at Augusta National

Tiger waves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On Thursday 7th April, Tiger Woods teed it up at The Masters for his first competitive start since November 2020 following a serious car crash that very nearly led to a right leg amputation (opens in new tab). Not only did the five time Green Jacket winner return to Augusta National, but he put on a display which looked like he had never left.

The return of Tiger to competitive action had arguably been, not just the biggest talking point in golf, but also in sport, with fans being left in suspense on whether he would return or not at The Masters (opens in new tab). However, at Augusta National, Tiger showed his class, with three birdies and two bogies, resulting in the 46-year-old signing for an under-par round of 71 and a round that, 14 months ago, we thought we would never see!

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All week, patrons had been coming in their thousands to watch Tiger tee it up in a practice round. On Thursday morning, those scenes were replicated on a huge scale, with 10,000+ patrons following the 15-time Major winner around the 18 holes.

Teeing off the first to rapturous applause, Tiger would make a superb up-and-down that almost looked like he had never been out of the game. Following the par, three more followed before the first highlight occurred at the par-4 5th, a hole that the 46-year-old has struggled with in the past at Augusta National (opens in new tab).

Stunning a long-iron from 218-yards, Woods' birdie putt looked like it was in all the way as he began walking after it. However, golf is a cruel game and it doesn't matter who you are it will bite back. As the ball horseshoed out the hole, that appeared to be the case. For Woods though, it didn't phase him, with his tee shot at the next, the par-3 6th, finishing a foot from the hole and a near hole-in-one! (opens in new tab)

Woods picks the ball out the hole

Woods retrieves his ball after making birdie on the 6th green during the first round of the Masters 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger looked in the zone, with a superb up-and-down at the 7th only building momentum. On the 8th though, we were shown a glimpse of perhaps a little bit of rust, with Tiger 50-yards from the green in two on the par-5. He would end up walking off with a bogey, a moment that showed his game is still getting back to the level that he is used to.

A run of pars followed, with Tiger heading into Amen Corner (opens in new tab) at level-par, a fair reflection of the golf that had been played over the first 11 holes. His second birdie followed soon after though, with two amazing shots on the 13th leading to an eagle attempt from 25-feet.

Annoyingly for the 15-time Major champion, he would leave it short, with a bogey on the following hole only compounding the annoyance further. That soon filtered out at the par-3 16th, with a 25-foot birdie putt dropping and the iconic Tiger fist pump on display, to the delight of the 10,000+ patrons surrounding the green.

There was yet more class left from Tiger at the par-4 18th, with a poor drive being followed by a lay-up at the 465-yard hole. In true Tiger style though, he would produce an up-and-down for a one-under-par first round that left me and everyone else in complete amazement.

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Speaking after his round, Woods revealed: "I did not have a very good warmup at all. I hit it awful. As my dad said, did you accomplish your task? Did you warm up? I said yes. Now go play. That's exactly what I did. I blocked it out and felt, hey, I'm warm. Go play. Let's just go get it done. You know where to put it. Execute each shot."

Despite the poor warm-up, Woods looked extremely steady at Augusta National: "As the round built, I was able to get into the red. I got out of there and got to even-par but made two stupid mistakes at 8 back-to-back, loss of concentration a little bit there, but I fought back. For the day, to end up in the red, I'm right where I need to be.

"To hit the shots in the right spots -- I know where to hit it to a lot of these pins, and I miss in the correct spots and give myself good angles. I did that all day, and I was able to make a few putts and end up in the red like I am now. I'm only three back. We've got a long way to go. This golf course is going to change dramatically -- cooler, drier, windier. You can hear the SubAirs on out there. This golf course is going to change, and it's going to get a lot more difficult."

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.