By almost any measure, Tiger Woods' early front nine today was not good. He was 1 over. But I say "almost." The truth is, he could have been worse; worse than making the turn at even.
He went 0-for-7 in fairways hit (and missed the fairway on No. 10 for good measure, before finally hitting the fairway on 11).
It was eventful from the start, an early start. The tee times were moved way up at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC because of the threat of storms in Akron. Woods teed off with Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter at 7 a.m. I wouldn't say it was dark, but it wasn't light yet. It was not bright for that threesome.
Woods hit his tee shot into the right bunker, hit a high pull out of there and had trouble finding his ball in the thick rough. Watson was on his way over to help look for it--as many golfers are doing for their peers on public courses this Saturday morning--then Woods found it. He pitched up and two-putted for bogey.
That was better than Poulter, who drove into the trees on the left. His second shot had that unmistakable KNOCK of ball against bark. It went backward. He punched out into the fairway, put his fourth shot on and three-putted for 7. Oops.
Watson hit two perfect shots, then missed an 8-footer for birdie, making it so that each of the three was unhappy heading to No. 2.
Things grew more interesting on No. 6, when Woods hit it way right and had to yell "fore" for fear it would hit someone. It did hit someone, college golfer Brady Klotz, on the lower left side of his back.
Klotz was uninjured, and got to meet Woods, whose ball took a nice bounce left, back into play. Woods gave the kid an autographed glove and told him, "Sorry, man, but thanks for helping me out."
Before that, a spectator had at Poulter, having perceived that the Englishman had said or tweeted unflattering things about Tiger over the years. The fan yelled, "Tiger Woods is the best, Poulter. Figure it out." Poulter, walking with Woods and chatting amiably, seemed amused, and the guy yelled, "What's so funny?"