Tiger Woods headed straight for the physiotherapist after posting his worst first-round score at The Open.
The Masters champion, who is restricted by the four operations he has had on his back, knew as soon as he began warming up on the range around 2pm he was in for a testing day.
And the seven-over 78 he carded – which included just one birdie that did not arrive until the 15th hole – proved his point.
It was the 15-time major winner’s worst 18 holes at an Open since an 81 in round three at Muirfield in 2002, but he admitted there was little he could do about it and hoped treatment would get him in a better state for Friday.
“That’s about all I can do. Hopefully the body responds. That’s just the nature of the procedure that I had,” said Woods, who goes out again at 10.09am on Friday.
“I’m going to have days like this and I’ve got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately I did not post a very good score.
“I’m sore. You’ve got to be spot on. These guys are too good. There are too many guys that are playing well and I’m just not one of them.”
Woods’ start was mixed to say the least as he found the left rough off the first tee, hit his approach into a bunker but managed to get up and down for par.
He admits that was about as good as it got and even his solitary birdie was celebrated with a sarcastic licking of his right index finger to chalk up a number one in the air.
“My warm-up wasn’t very good. I had a hard time moving and just trying to piece together a swing that will get me around a golf course,” he added.
“Then all of a sudden I made probably one of the best pars you’ve ever seen on one today. That was a pretty good start but it was kind of downhill from there.
“I hit a lot of missed shots, they were all left. I wasn’t hitting it solid. Everything was off the heel. I was just trying to scrape it around. The best I could do was seven-over.”
Woods had taken a month off after the US Open and had not played a competitive round ahead of the first round at Royal Portrush.
He spoke pre-tournament about having to manage his schedule in an attempt to sustain some longevity in what is left of his top-level career.
And he is having to come to terms with lower expectations and not necessarily being able to compete every time he tees it up like he did in the past.
“It’s going to be a lot more difficult. I’m not 24 any more. Life changes, life moves on and I can’t devote the hours to practice like I used to,” he said.
“I have to be realistic about my expectations and hopefully peaking at the right time.
“I peaked at Augusta well and hopefully I can peak a few more times this year.”
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
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