A slow start for Woods, and Cadillac Championship
By Doug Ferguson AP
March 8, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
DORAL, Florida -- Tiger Woods only made it through 10 holes Thursday — this time because of the weather, not his back.
The debut of the new Blue Monster, and the return of Woods, received an incomplete grade Thursday when the opening round of the Cadillac Championship was halted more than two hours because of menacing thunderstorms.
Harris English was among only six players who finished the round, hitting 5-iron into the par-3 ninth hole and rolling in a 45-foot birdie putt for a 3-under 69.
The golf course and the world's No. 1 player showed enough.
Woods, who walked off after 13 holes Sunday in the Honda Classic because of lower back pain and spasms, said he warmed up well and felt good during the delay.
His golf didn't look all that great. He was 2-over par through 10 holes, ending the day with a wedge that came up some 20 yards short of his target, leading to a three-putt for bogey from about 55 feet.
"I'm ready to go back out tomorrow and play well," he said.
Trump National Doral, completely overhauled by Gil Hanse, showed plenty of bite on a windy, cloudy afternoon. Jason Dufner was going along beautifully for 10 holes until he struggled to find fairways in a crosswind. Brett Rumford began his round by hitting four shots before he put one in play. Three went into the water on the par-5 10th, and he started out with an 11.
"Mr. Trump wanted a very tough test on the Blue Monster, and I think that's what he got," English said.
The course average was at 73.8.
Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed also were at 3 under when the round was suspended by darkness. The 62 players who failed to finish will return Friday morning to complete the round.
Russell Henley, coming off a playoff win last week at the Honda Classic, made only one par in six holes on the back nine — two birdies, three bogeys. He was in the group at 2-under that included Masters champion Adam Scott, who is in the Nos. 1-2-3 group with Woods and Henrik Stenson.
Stenson might have hit the most memorable shot of the day — a cold shank from the middle of the second fairway that sailed at a 45-degree angle into bushes.
Scott has a chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world if he wins this World Golf Championship and Woods finishes worse that fifth.
Rory McIlroy got off to a blazing start with four birdies in five holes, only to end the back nine with back-to-back bogeys with a long three-putt bogey and a tee shot on the 18th that caught the edge of the water and bounded into the hazard.
That might be the most penal aspect of the new Doral. Anything hit toward some of the edges feeds toward the water, and there's a lot of water in play.