Woods 2-over in his PGA Tour return

Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour wasn't a over 73 Thursday and is six shots back at the Open.

Woods, who hadn't played on tour since a disastrous missed cut at the PGA Championship in August, trails Brendan Steele, Briny Baird, Garrett Willis and Matt Bettencourt at CordeValle Golf Club.

The first round has yet to be completed so Woods could be further off first by the time Thursday's play ends.

Woods failed to qualify for the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup after a 2011 season marred by inconsistent play and a leg injury. This is his first- ever appearance in the Fall Series, a group of tournaments generally played by golfers trying to get into the top 125 on the money list to earn their tour cards for next year.

Woods certainly doesn't fall into the category. Although he's slid to 51st in the world rankings, Woods' appearance this week had some to due with his limited schedule this season, but also to do with his appearance next month in Australia.

He was a questionable captain's pick by Fred Couples for the U.S. Presidents Cup team and Couples asked Woods to play a competitive tournament before the international team matches in November.

"I'm just playing to get competitive and win a golf tournament. It's not about validation," Woods said. "It's about going out there and playing. I need to put together a good round tomorrow and gradually piece my way back into the tournament.

Woods started off well on Thursday with a four-foot birdie putt at No. 1, but trouble loomed. He had bunker problems at two that resulted in a bogey, then missed the green at the par-three second and suddenly went from one-under to one-over in three holes.

Woods rattled off eight straight pars, but the rain came and Woods struggled. He hit a poor drive at the par-five 12th, then hooked his second out of bounds. Woods walked off with a double-bogey and was three-over par.

He birdied the par-five 15th to get back down to two-over, but missed a 14- footer for birdie at the last.

Woods' problem on Thursday was pretty clear -- the flat stick. Woods took 27 putts in his round of 73 and fully acknowledged as much.

"We played yesterday and they were a little faster than they were today," Woods said of the greens in the opening round. "With the rain this morning, and the rain we had when we were playing, it just kept slowing them up."