A rude welcome back to the PGA for Tiger Woods

By Doug Ferguson | Associated Press Published:

BETHESDA, Md. -- Congressional gave Tiger Woods a rude welcome back to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

In his first competition since back surgery a week before the Masters, Woods made seven bogeys in his opening 12 holes. He made three birdies from short range the rest of the way for a 3-over 74 at the Quicken Loans National.

At least he still has his health. Woods said his back felt fine.

"The back's great," Woods said. "I had no issues at all -- no twinges, no nothing. It felt fantastic. That's one of the reasons why I let go on those tee shots. I hit it pretty hard out there."

Woods last played at Doral on March 9, when he closed with a 78 while coping with pain in his lower back. He had microdiscectomy surgery on March 31, causing him to miss the Masters and U.S. Open.

His return this soon was a surprise, and Woods was candid in saying that he might not have played if the Quicken Loans National did not benefit his foundation's work with children. He also made it clear he was not risking further injury by playing now.

The real pain was Congressional, which played tougher than it did for the U.S. Open three years ago. The rough was punishing, making it difficult for even the powerful players to get onto the green.

Woods was part of a marquee group that didn't give a big gallery much reason to cheer. Jason Day had a 73 while Jordan Spieth had a 74.

Former Kent State star Ben Curtis was a stroke back with a four-over 75.

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