AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The latest on The Masters (all times local):
Tiger Woods makes his first Masters 2022 birdie.
After five straight pars to start his round, the five-time Masters champion stuck his tee shot on the 180-yard par-3 6th hole to tap out within about 2 feet of range. Patrons around the green gave Woods a predictable round of applause and cheers after seeing the shot. He gave them a few greetings and a few nods to the visor.
The birdie put it at 1 under for the day and tied for second. Harry Higgs took the lead at 2-under on nine holes.
Woods had just played a brilliant second shot on the par-4 5th hole, getting a bit unlucky when a ball that seemed to come to rest just yards from the cut barely caught the edge of a slope and rolled about 15 feet. a way.
He nearly birdied there anyway, his putt fell apart.
Paul Casey has withdrawn from the Masters.
Casey had had back spasms this week and told Augusta National on Thursday morning that he would not be able to play.
He was scheduled to play at the 10:53 a.m. tee time with Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith.
Casey has played the Masters 15 times. His best result was a tie for fourth in 2016.
Tiger Woods started the Masters.
His round began at 11:04 a.m., officially marking his return to competitive golf after around 18 months away, first due to back surgery, then – and mostly – due to a car accident. so bad that it almost cost him one of his legs.
He shook hands with his playing partners, Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann. He then pulled the driver out of his bag, removed the headgear – a stuffed tiger, of course – and went through the final stages of easing.
Patrons lined both sides of the first fairway and circled the tee box, desperately trying to capture a glimpse of the moment. Woods was the first to play in the group, tugged on the bill of his cap when he was introduced to greet the fans, then headed for the ball.
He didn’t seem to like the result, grimacing a bit as he watched the ball fly towards a bunker along the right side of the fairway.
But he was back. His Masters was in progress.
Tiger Woods warms up for his first round of the Masters.
Dressed in a pink shirt and black pants, the five-time Masters champion follows his routine of putting, chipping and swinging to prepare for his first round of professional golf competition since November 15, 2020 – also in Augusta National. It was the final round of the Masters, delayed that year due to the pandemic.
Woods received handshakes and even a hug as he walked from one training area to another.
He leaves at 11:04 a.m.
At the very beginning of the Masters, there was a three-way tie for the lead. Padraig Harrington, Guido Migliozzi and Min Woo Lee were all 1 under, all still playing forward for Augusta National.
As Tiger Woods’ tee time at the Masters approaches, Jose Maria Olazabal has netted the first birdie of this year’s tournament.
Olazabal is a two-time Masters champion and is taking part in the tournament for the 33rd time. His approach on the par-4 opening hole settled along the right side of the green and he rolled into the putt.
Olazabal was playing in the first group of the day, leaving at 8:30 a.m.
Woods starts his round at 11:04 a.m.
Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and newcomer Tom Watson played their ceremonial tee shots and opened this year’s Masters.
And they brought a little humor to the proceedings.
Player, the three-time Masters champion who has long been a fitness advocate, was the first to play. And Watson, who was part of the ceremony for the first time, couldn’t resist having a little fun with Player as he made his way to the tee.
“Is he going to do push-ups? asked Watson.
The player replied, “I did it while you were sleeping this morning.”
Nicklaus, the six-time champion, was next in line, joking he would be surprised if he could put the tee in the ground without falling. “Yes! It was a hit,” he said, prompting more laughter.
And then the stage was set for Watson, who won the first of his two green jackets 45 years ago. He tipped his cap when his introduction of Augusta National president Fred Ridley was over, then asked if he could say a few words.
“I would like to say how honored I am to be with Gary and Jack,” Watson said. “I’ve watched this ceremony many times in the past…and to be a part of this thing, I’m really humbled.”
Watson is now the 11th person to have been an honorary starter at the Masters. After walking away, he joined Nicklaus and Player for a hug.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the 86th Masters Tournament is officially underway,” Ridley said. “Enjoy the tournament.”
The start of the Masters was a bit delayed due to overnight rain.
The whole thing was pushed back 30 minutes because of thunderstorms, which followed daytime deluges on Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
Tiger Woods is due to start at 11:04 a.m. Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama will be on the first start at 11:15 a.m.
Forecasters say there’s not a great chance of more rain Thursday at Augusta National, though strong winds are expected to greet the afternoon flurry of players. Cooling is forecast for the rest of the week, with low temperatures on Saturday evening dropping into the upper 30s – unusually cold for Augusta at this time of year.
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