Tiger Woods

USA Today

Tiger's Day 1

Memo to Honk Nation.

April 12, 2019 - 10:11 am

Memo to Honk Nation; if the Big Cat comes up a shot or two short on Sunday, then you can look at Thursday afternoon as the reason why. 

Look, The Cat will tell you that yesterday was Mission Accomplished after shooting 70. Hell, here's the quote his official Twitter account dropped on behalf of TW: 

"I feel very good. I've shot this number and won four coats, so hopefully I can do it again." 

Technically that's almost true. He shot a first-round 70 in 3 of his 4 Masters wins. But here's something else that's technically true. When Eldrick ripped those four coats, he wasn't going up against a field like this. And he wasn't putting with oven mitts on. 

Tiger missed 4 putts inside of 10 feet. FOUR. Not all tournament. But in the first round. He missed five footers on both the fifth AND sixth holes. Both were brutal rolls. He didn't cash in a birdie putt on the Par-5 8th. And then he made bogey on 17 when he couldn't get up and down from in front of the green. 

Add all that up and throw in that mess he made on the Par 5 15th when he launched a 4-iron from the middle of the fairway 270 when it needed it to go 220, and that's how you turn a 66 into a 70. 

I mean, the good news for Cat Nation is that Tiger was hammering the Big Stick. His irons were dialed in. The way El Gato was striping it, 70 was the worst number he could've shot. But the way he's rolling it, dude's gonna need to find something fast to stay in this birdie hunt. 

Because here's the thing: The putts don't get easier on the weekend. And if you're yanking five-footers on Masters Thursday, wait until you see where they go on Masters Sunday.  

This field isn't coming back to Tiger. Tiger's got to go and catch them. And when you're leaving a handful of shots on the course because you aren't cashing in Par 5s and making clutch putts, then it's pretty hard to run anybody down. 

That's how Tiger beat everybody when he had it going. The Big Cat at his best used to feast on the Par 5s and jug all sorts of clutch putts. Now he's snacking on the Par 5s like Brooks Koepka before a photo shoot and missing way too many shorties. 

So this thing really is Wide Ass Open. Any one of those dudes could win this thing. And don't forget Rory or Justin Thomas, either. Both Rory and JT can get hot.  Both those dudes can go really, really low. Both those dudes have gone really, really low. But they better put their freaking foot on the gas today, otherwise this field is gonna run away from them. 

Bottom line; You can't win the Masters on Thursday. But you can lose it. And if Tiger is in the hunt on the back 9 on Sunday and comes up short, you'll know why.