Bridgestone Invitational. That's good news for Tiger Woods. The troubled linkster, with a tenuous grip on the #1 world ranking, stumbled to an opening round 74, placing him T70 in the field of 81 golfers. On a course and in an event he virtually owned, Woods couldn't muster even a lick of mojo and I'd have to say there wasn't a single highlight to his round. He spent so much time in the woods you'd have to have been planted in a deer stand to claim spotting him. Five fairways hit, 61% GIR, and 32 putts led to his 74 on a Firestone Country Club course with soft greens that was ripe for the taking. Woods' off course life changes have clearly affected his play. Understandable of course to us humans, but confounding I'm certain to Woods.
Bubba Watson's maiden appearance in this tourney didn't faze him in the least as his 64 led the way after round 1. Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, and US Open champ Graeme McDowell all generously shared 2nd place at -4. Mickelson's playing partner, Rory McIlroy, turned in a respectable 68. Antony Kim struggled to a +5, 75 on his return from injury. Camilo Villegas, on the other hand, had no such excuse for his 75.
The weather calls for dry and sunny for the next two days, so expect more runout from Firestone's tilted fairways and a generally tougher time scoring for the boys. I like the event, but find the venue rather boring as it seems to be long, straight par 4 after long, straight, par 4. Age and history doesn't necessarily gain a golf course instant status.
Good start. I'll watch tomorrow to see if Bubba can keep it going and if Woods can somehow find the remnants of what used to be his game.