Tiger Woods is still golf's main attraction. Despite the drama over the past few years - whether it be marital or physical issues - Tiger still draws the largest crowd in all of golf. Wednesday's practice round at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky was the perfect example of the cult of Tiger.
Woods arrived at Valhalla at 1:16 pm EST Wednesday, less than 24 hours before his 8:35 am Thursday tee-time. By 2:09 pm, Woods was already on the green, gearing up to practice on the front nine with Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington.
If one was to measure the energy of the crowd and the intensity of the media, however, this simple practice round would instead appear to be reminiscent of Tiger's 2000 PGA Championship win at Valhalla, which ended in an electrifying playoff with Bob May.
And, while Tiger professed that he felt great warming up on Wednesday, stating that he was "pain free" and that his "range of motion was good", his performance in the first round on Thursday was... bad, to say the least.
When one drops an F-bomb on only the second hole, one knows that the day is not going to bode well.
Tiger started the day by bogeying two of his first five holes, with both bogeys coming after he missed the green on two par-3s. While Woods was able to save a birdie on his 7th hole (officially the 16th - Woods started play on the back-9) by holing-out a wedge from over 100 feet away, the turn ruined any chance of Woods salvaging the round.
Mainly due to lack of accuracy off the tee, Woods bogeyed back-to-back holes after the turn, driving his tee from the 1st into a native area while his tee-shot from the 2nd resulted in a drop and his fourth bogey on the day.
Tiger Woods finishes with 74, +3. In Tiger's 79 career @PGATOUR wins he never carded worse than +2 in 1st round.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) August 7, 2014
Woods would finish the first round with a 3-over 74, putting him in danger of missing the cut unless a drastic turnaround occurs on Friday. And, if Woods hopes to play in the Ryder Cup or in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it will have to be the most drastic turnaround of his career.
Speaking on his likelihood to choose Woods for the Ryder Cup, Tom Watson stated:
He (Woods) said to me he really wants to make the (US) team in the worst way... This Ryder Cup is a big thing. It's a big, big, big event, and these players really want to make the team and bring that Cup back to the United States... Obviously he's not in great health right now and he hasn't played very well. So the question is, will I pick him? Well, I can't tell until things happen in the next three or four weeks. It's speculation what's going to happen.
Currently, Woods ranks 217th in FedEx Cup Standings. If he wishes to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Woods has to climb all the way to 125th - a climb that would essentially require Woods to win the PGA Championship.
With the odds of that happening decreasing every time Tiger takes a swing, his only hope now is intervention from any of the Norse gods who happen to inhabit Valhalla.
Image via YouTube