CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Tiger Woods despatched the web into hysterics due to a few items of tape on his neck. His golf recreation could not fairly match the joy.
Woods arrived at Carnoustie on Thursday for the primary spherical of The Open sporting two strips of KT Tape to alleviate strain on his neck, which was bothering him on account of a poor night time’s sleep earlier in the week.
The three-time Open champion, who competed in the occasion for the primary time since 2015, downplayed its impression on the spherical however mentioned his neck has “been bugging me for some time.”
Woods shot even-par 71 to complete the primary spherical 5 strokes behind event chief Kevin Kisner. It is simply the fourth time Woods has opened a significant at par or higher in the 13 instances he has performed going again to 2013.
“I performed higher than what the rating signifies as a result of I had two Eight-irons into each par 5s right now, and I find yourself with par on each of these,” Woods mentioned. “If I simply clear up these two holes and play them the way in which I am speculated to play them with an Eight-iron in my hand, I feel I would most likely have the perfect spherical in the afternoon wave.
“So it definitely might have been somewhat bit higher.”
Woods’ 71 matched the perfect rating of any participant in the final 12 teams, and there have been simply 5 scores below par among the many final 51 gamers to tee off.
Keeping to a conservative technique, Woods hit only a single driver (at the par-5 sixth gap) and two Three-woods (at the second and 10th holes). The relaxation have been iron pictures off tees to higher place himself and keep away from the cavernous pot bunkers from which it’s practically not possible to advance the ball towards the inexperienced.
The consequence was quite a few lengthy approaches, however these two alternatives at the par-5s have been wasted, together with a three-putt par at the 13th gap.
“I’m just playing to my spots,” he said. “And if the wind permits me to be extra aggressive, then, clearly, I get it down there. But right now with the wind popping out of the south, southeast, it did not enable that. Granted, it did change somewhat bit out of the west at the top, however it’s simply arduous to regulate that ball on the inexperienced, particularly when it is rolling about 100 yards. It’s simply actually arduous.”
Woods ended one doubtful streak, one which noticed him shoot over par in the primary spherical of his final eight main championships, relationship to the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool.
But one other pattern continued. In phrases of place, he’s nicely again, sitting in a tie for 32nd — the seventh consecutive event in which he has not ended the primary spherical in the highest 10. Woods’ finest in that stretch was a tie for 29th at the Masters.
Still, this doesn’t appear as a lot of a hurdle. He parred the brutal last three holes and made some glorious par saves in his spherical. Carnoustie is taken into account one of many hardest programs in the world for a purpose, and even with ample sunshine and little wind early in the day, there have been simply 17 scores in the 60s. Given comparatively benign situations for the primary seven hours of the day, it was a shock nobody went decrease than Kisner’s 66.
“He hit it good,” mentioned Russell Knox, a Scotsman enjoying in his residence nation who shot 73 whereas grouped with Woods for the primary time. “He plowed his method round, which I anticipated him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s type of enjoyable to observe him do this, to be sincere.”
Woods birdied the primary and fourth holes and missed the nice alternative at the sixth, a 5-footer. He saved par with a 10-footer at the ninth, then made his first bogey at the 10th when he drove right into a fairway bunker.
He adopted with a 40-footer for birdie at the 11th, however that turned out to be the final of his three bogeys. The three-putt at the 13th was his second bogey of the day. Then, regardless of having simply an Eight-iron to the par-5 14th, Woods left it proper and right into a greenside bunker, the place it plugged; he was lucky to get it out, however left himself an extended birdie putt.
Another fairway bunker at the 15th led to his third bogey, after which Woods did nicely to protect par over the closing three holes.
Woods mentioned that the neck concern was not a giant deal, that “as I received warmed up I felt all proper.” But it was vital to KT Tape in Utah, whose executives have been pleasantly shocked on Thursday morning when the excitement made it to their workplaces earlier than most had even come in for the day.
“We noticed it explode like everybody else,” said Russ Schleiden, the chief marketing officer for the company. “We had no heads up.”
Schleiden mentioned that, from what he might see, Woods used two 20-inch strips of the KT Tape to assist his neck. The product claims to calm down muscle mass, enhance circulation and scale back strain.
The non-public firm, which Schleiden says has skilled gross sales development yearly since 2008, has seen an uptick in use for golfers. Most notably, J.B. Holmes, Michelle Wie and Bernhard Langer have used KT Tape on the course with none formal deal. Schleiden mentioned the rise in use on the course has prompted the corporate to enter into negotiations with a golfer. That golfer, Schleiden assured, was not Woods.
Schleiden mentioned he expects Thursday’s use of the KT Tape by Tiger to be a “massive increase” to the corporate’s gross sales. The firm noticed a pleasant bump when Tom Brady wore KT Tape on his proper hand for this previous yr’s AFC Championship Game and when Mirai Nagasu turned the primary girl to land a triple axel at the 2018 Olympics whereas sporting the tape, he mentioned. Those have been unpaid offers.
“We typically see the largest gross sales bumps when athletes use us out of the blue,” Schleiden said. “When it is natural and actual.”