The Loop

Sirak: Tiger Opens With a Par on No. 1

April 13, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The massive live oak behind the Augusta National clubhouse was shedding seed pods at a ferocious rate, filling the air with pollen as its branches were buffeted by what was easily a two-club wind. At 2:05 p.m., Tiger Woods aimed his opening drive in the final round of the Masters down the left side of the fairway and the ball followed his eyes as he positioned his tee ball perfectly to attack the middle-right pin position.

But part of the brilliance of Augusta National is that the stately Georgia pines can mask the wind, and at times wall it out completely. Woods second shot slid slightly short and right of the hole, riding a wind the club meteorologist said was blowing at 15 to 20 mph out of the west-northwest when Woods teed off, meaning it was cutting left to right across the first fairway. Winds are supposed to peak at 25 to 30 mph later this afternoon.

Woods was able to putt from the fringe and got down in two for a par; playing partner Stewart Cink birdied to tie Woods at five under par, six strokes behind 54-hole leader Trevor Immelman.

--Ron Sirak