Tiger Woods returned to golf with a par on the first hole of the Masters.
Woods, no longer sporting the goatee he had worn during practice, received a big cheer from the Augusta National crowd before he teed off Thursday. The four-time Masters champion hit his drive into the fairway and knocked his second shot within about 15 feet of the cup, but his birdie attempt curled just wide.
Woods was in the next-to-last group as he played for the first time since a Thanksgiving night car wreck led to revelations of numerous extramarital affairs. The skies were overcast and the wind had picked up ahead of an approaching storm front.
“Make us proud!” a fan yelled as Woods walked up to the tee.
On this day, nothing could overshadow the world’s greatest player returning from a five-month layoff, not even another turn-back-the-clock performance by Tom Watson.
The 60-year-old Watson, who nearly became the oldest major winner in golf history at last year’s British Open, showed that wasn’t a fluke. He grabbed the clubhouse lead with a 5-under-par 67, tying his best round at Augusta.
The last time he did it was 20 years ago.
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