Tour Confidential Daily: What did you learn in Tiger Woods’ return?

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on Thursday on the 18th hole at Augusta National.

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Check in each day of this week’s Masters for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.

The Masters began Thursday, and with it, Tiger Woods returned. Just over 13 months since a car crash that caused multiple leg injuries, Woods made three birdies en route to a one-under 71 that put him just four strokes behind first-round leader Sungjae Im. As you watched Woods work his way around Augusta National, what did you learn from him in his return?

Sean Zak, senior editor (@sean_zak): That he’s still one of the best par-scramblers there ever has been. From the very first hole, it was an exercise in brilliant patience and assessment. A worse player — and there are many in this field — would have cracked on a couple of those. That’s the Tiger we know. 

Michael Bamberger, senior writer: I would say relearn: Never underestimate Tiger Woods. Given where he was on the afternoon of Feb. 23, 2021, I would not have guessed I would see him standing on a podium after the first round of the 2022 Masters, talking about a round of 71.

Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor (@jess_marksbury): Totally agree with both Sean and Michael. That was such an exciting performance. And I think what Tiger reinforced for me today is just how “on” your putting needs to be to contend at Augusta. Those mid-round short putts he made from 4-6 feet to salvage pars were huge from a momentum perspective. And they’re not easy putts to make! 

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Luke Kerr-Dineen, Game Improvement Editor (@lukekerrdineen): That Tiger’s various physical limitations have sharpened the mind of one of golf’s greatest-ever strategists. Tiger hit only nine greens in regulations on Thursday, yet somehow it didn’t really matter. When he wasn’t on the surface, he had left himself in “position A:” Lots of green to work with from a straightaway angle.

Dylan Dethier, senior writer (@dylan_dethier): He knows where to miss. He’s keen on limiting the damage. He’s here to play chess.

Josh Sens, senior writer(@joshsens): That the less willing his body, the more able his mind becomes. Those scrambling pars on 1 and 18 were emblematic bookends to the day. 

Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): That if his body stays remotely healthy, he can compete at this course for years. He knows where to hit it, he knows where not to hit it. No one thinks their way around a golf course like Tiger. His mind has always been one of his greatest weapons. Still is. 

Nick Piastowski, senior editor (@nickpia): That his doctors and physical therapists are as good at their professions as Woods is at his golf. 

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