On Wednesday, Tiger announced that he has reached an equipment deal with Taylormade. Tiger will immediately begin using the new Taylormade driver, 3 wood, and 5 wood. He will continue to use his Nike irons and wedges, but plans to work with Taylormade in the near future on a custom set of blade irons and wedges. Tiger will also stick with his Scotty Cameron putter. This endorsement deal was possible after Nike’s exit from the equipment business. Tiger will still rock the Nike swoosh in the form of his apparel and golf glove. The Big Cat joins Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, and Justin Rose as Taylormade players.
Now, onto Tiger’s first round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open. The event is being contested at Torrey Pines just outside of San Diego. This is where Tiger famously won the U.S. Open in 2008 on a broken leg.
Tiger’s historical struggles on the first hole of the south course continued on Thursday as Tiger made a bogey to drop to +1 overall. The Big Cat hit driver off the tee and missed the fairway way off to the right. His second shot missed the green and he was not able to get up and down for par. Tiger would make 8 pars over the rest of his front 9. Two of these pars came after missing the green but still finding a way to make a par, which shows the strength of Tiger’s short game. Tiger also had a few birdie chances but could not get anything to fall into the cup.
Making the turn to the back 9, Tiger found something in his game. He made back-to-back birdies on holes 10 and 11. Both birdies featured great approach shots into the green, leaving inside 15 feet for birdie.
Tiger would then make bogey on number 12, just missing his par putt. Tiger missed the fairway to the right again on number 13. His lay up into the par 5 also found the rough. After hacking up to the green, Tiger would make a 3-putt 6 on the par 5. Moral of the story, San Diego has gotten a lot of rain this month making the rough very thick and nasty. Tiger is going to have to start hitting the fairway if he wants to stick around this weekend.
On 15, Tiger hit a snap hook off the tee and into a hazard to the left. After a penalty drop, Tiger’s approach found the thick rough leaving a tough up and down. This set up a double bogey. Tiger would also make a bogey on 16. On 18, Tiger recovered and hit a nice approach into the green. He would make the short putt for birdie to finish at +4 for the tournament.
I expected him to definitely have some rust, but expected something more along the lines of 2-over par at the worst. Well, Tiger will have some work tomorrow if he wants to play this weekend. He tees off at 12:30 EST, again with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. As of right now, the cut line is 1-under par. Tiger will need to make some shots up tomorrow.