SAN DIEGO—Tiger Woods had a rough return to the PGA Tour yesterday but two Canadians found themselves in the top three after the first round.
Woods, playing in a PGA Tour event for the first in 17 months, fell apart on the back nine of the South Course at Torrey Pines and wound up with a four-over 76, leaving him in danger of missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open.
He was 11 shots behind Justin Rose, who shot a 65 yesterday on the shorter North Course.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. was one stroke back of Rose after a six-under 66 for the best score on the South Course, which hosted the 2008 U.S. Open.
Hadwin is coming off a second-place finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge last week that saw him shoot a 13-under 59 in the third round.
“I don't want to say it was as good as a 59 but it was pretty darn good,” Hadwin noted.
Ottawa's Brad Fritsch, meanwhile, was tied for third at five-under, Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask. sat at four-under, and Nick Taylor, also of Abbotsford, was three-under.
Woods battled to save par, then fell apart during a six-hole stretch on the back nine.
It wasn't his worst score on the fabled South Course at Torrey Pines, though it was his highest score of his career in the first round of a new year.
“I let it slip away in the middle part of the back nine,” Woods noted.
“And unfortunately, [I] didn't hit very good shots.”
It was a rude welcome back to the PGA Tour, and to Torrey Pines, where Woods has won eight times as a pro.
He had not played on the PGA Tour since Aug. 23, 2015, when he tied for 10th in the Wyndham Championship.
Two back surgeries followed, and Woods missed all of 2016 until returning at an unofficial event with an 18-man field and no cut in the Bahamas during the first week in December.
This was different in so many ways.
Along with fighting his swing (he didn't hit a fairway after No. 7), and coping with thick rough he had not seen since the 2015 PGA Championship, Woods said he had a hard time adjusting to the pace of play from being in threesomes.
“Honestly, it was just weird waiting that much," he remarked. ”Not used to doing that.
“It was just a different rhythm.”
At least Woods ended with a birdie and a smile, which looked to be more of a relief—not only for Woods but for Jason Day and Dustin Johnson.
The star group sure didn't play like one, with all three players frustrated at times by the bumpy poa annua greens in the afternoon.
Day, the No. 1 player in the world, missed five putts from the four-foot range and opened with a 73.
Johnson made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 72.