A revved-up Tiger Woods said the juices are flowing after making a strong start to his Valspar Championship campaign. The 14-time major champion carded a one-under-par 70 to be tied for eighth in Palm Harbor, Florida on Thursday.
It was a topsy-turvy outing for Woods, who had five birdies to go with four bogeys as he ended the opening round alongside Masters champion Sergio García and three shots behind leader Corey Conners.
Woods, happy with performance
"The [juices] are flowing. I'm revved up. I love competition," Woods said following his round. "I have a great pairing this week. Jordan [Spieth] and Henrik [Stenson] are two great guys. Very competitive. Have had great years. I enjoy when par is a good score, it's a reward. There are some tournaments when [after] about four holes you don't make a birdie and you feel like you're behind. Today, made a couple of birdies, all of a sudden that puts me fourth, fifth right away. That's how hard it is. It's the reward to go out there and make a couple birdies here and there and I like that type of challenge. I feel like I'm pleased with every aspect of my game. I drove it well, I hit a lot of good iron shots today and had some good speed on the putts. I thought I really did well today overall.''
Back after 22 years
Woods – making his first appearance at Innisbrook since 1996 – survived a nervy moment when his left arm hit a tree. The 42-year-old, whose career has been derailed by back injuries, pulled his tee shot on the par-four 16th hole as the ball ended up in front of a tree. Trying to play his way out of trouble, Woods made contact with the tree but the American star avoided injury as his club went flying in the air.
"It didn't feel very good," Woods added. "I moved all the people and even warned them in case the club breaks and gets over there."