Tiger Woods buried the memories of his Quail Hollow nightmare last week while fellow American JB Holmes and Australian Robert Allenby took joint control of the Players Championship on Thursday.
World number one Woods, who missed the cut for only the sixth time as a professional at the Quail Hollow Championship, cut a very different figure at the TPC Sawgrass as he ground out a two-under-par 70.
The 14-times major winner recorded three birdies and a lone bogey in benign conditions to end an opening round of low-scoring four strokes behind the pacesetting Holmes and Allenby.
With the smile back on his face and a bit of swagger in his stride, Woods was on track for his first bogey-free display at Sawgrass in 13 appearances before he faltered at the last.
Despite bogeying the hole after pulling his tee shot left into water, he was overall satisfied with his start in the tournament widely considered the “fifth major” by the players.
“I was just grinding my way around,” Woods told reporters. “I kind of placed my golf ball around the course. I felt good.”