AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The misconception about Tiger Woods is that he was born with a great imagination. In reality, his creativity on the course was born out of necessity. Because his entire career has been marred by drives so errant that only "big'' courses like Augusta National can contain some of them, he's had to become the game's most effective escape artist.
The second shot he hit to set up birdie on No. 9 and finish off a three-under 33 on the front side Thursday is a case in point. Tiger had overcooked another draw, perhaps aided by a pretty strong right-to-left breeze, and the ball had caromed off a pine into the left rough. As he and caddie Steve Williams assessed the situation, Tiger determined that "we have two options. We can hit one up there softly or one hard and low. We don't want to snap it too hard, though.''
Woods obviously opted for the hard and low one partly because of a lack of success with the soft one from a similar position on the par-4 seventh which led to his first bogey. His 5-iron bullet covered 210 yards, turned 45 degrees from the left, landed about 10 yards onto the green and rolled 15 feet past the hole. It was another brilliant shot from the game's premiere shotmaker. Based on his first-round driving accuracy (9-of-14 fairways hit for 64 percent), which was actually pretty good for him, the likelihood of us witnessing more great escapes over the remaining 54 holes is favorable.
-- Pete McDaniel