Tiger Woods score: Slow start leads to mediocre Round 1 at 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship
How did the crowd in Mexico greet Tiger Woods at his first-ever WGC-Mexico Championship and first appearance at this event since 2014? With a raucous cacophony and a “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger” introduction from the starter. How did Woods return the greeting? He hit his first ball out of bounds.
Woods would go on to make a double-bogey six, which put him in a bind throughout the day. He didn’t play terribly, but he also didn’t play great and finished with an even-par 71. And in WGC events, if you’re not playing great, then you’re probably getting lapped by somebody else in these elite fields.
Front nine (even-par 35): Woods bounced back after the double with three birdies in his next five holes, but he would only play two holes all day while in the red. A bogey to close out his first nine sent him to the back at even par, well back of Rory McIlroy’s huge lead, which ended at eight.
Back nine (even-par 36): There were fewer fireworks on the back (both good and bad for Woods). He made a single birdie with a single bogey and did nothing remarkable or unremarkable (other than a three-putt on a par-3 that led to the bogey).
What went well: Woods again hit his irons well, and I thought he putted pretty valiantly, too. Players talked about how tricky and tough these greens were after their rounds, but Woods handled them well and was in the positive in strokes gained putting in his first time seeing the course.
What went poorly: There are only 72 players in the field, and Woods finished 71st in driving. Here’s the thing: he didn’t drive it poorly other than that one stroke at the first hole. Those two tee shots lost him three strokes on the field, mostly because players like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy were all driving the green and putting for eagle. There were more eagles (3) than double bogeys or worse (2). Other than this one hole, Woods had a pretty good day.
Where he stands: Woods finishes the day at T25, tied with guys like Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Gary Woodland. He’s not out of it quite yet, but he has three of the maybe four or five best players on the planet in Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson all five or more strokes in front of him with just 54 holes to go. I don’t think the 18 WGC victory total is going to move to 19 later this week.
What’s next: Woods got off to a so-so start in the first two rounds last week at Riviera, too, before clawing his way back in the tournament. So it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. But he’ll need a huge Day 2 on Friday to have any hope of contending for his first WGC win since 2013. Woods will play with Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer again on Friday at 12:51 p.m. ET. They’ll tee off on the 10th hole so Woods will have a little time to think about playing the first.