AUGUSTA, United States (AFP) - Tiger Woods opened with a bogey on Thursday in the first round of the 79th Masters as the 14-time major champion began his latest comeback after a two-month layoff.
The 39-year-old American, a former world number one who has slid to 111th in the rankings, fired his first tee shot into trees right of the fairway, then blasted onto the green but missed a five-foot par putt.
And Woods found himself in the trees left of the fairway at the par-5 second hole, an ill omen as his first competitive trip around Augusta National in two years continued.
Woods had back surgery last year that forced him to miss the Masters for the first time in 20 years. He struggled in three comeback bids in 2014, the last of which led to early troubles in 2015.
After carding a career-worst 82 at Phoenix to miss the cut, Woods withdraw after 11 holes at Torrey Pines saying he needed time away from the tour to fix his troubled form, notably a short game that had once been a trademark.
But solid showings in three practice rounds this week raised hopes that Woods might be able to recapture the form that brought him four Masters green jackets and challenge for a 15th major title.
Woods has not won a Masters since 2005 and has not won a major since the 2008 US Open. His last tourney win was the 2013 WGC at Firestone, which put him three shy of Sam Snead's all-time record of 82 PGA titles.