Thursday Summary: Tiger Woods had never broken 70 in an opening round at the Masters ... until today. In perhaps the most pressure-filled round of his professional life, Woods shot a 4-under 68 Thursday. He made two eagles, the first time he has ever done that in one round at the Masters, and also had three birdies and three bogeys. He trails surprise leader Fred Couples by two shots. Five golfers are tied for second at 5 under, including Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and 60-year-old Tom Watson.
Hole No. 18: Par 4, 465 yards: As Tiger walks from the 17th green to the 18th tee, you can see him mouthing "thank you" to the fans who are applauding. He also tips his cap to them. Something to note.
His tee shot is headed a bit right, but for the third time today gets a favorable kick and ends up on the right edge of the fairway. It's better to be lucky than good, but it's best to be both.
Tiger's second shot to the green brings a roar from the crowd. The shot lands just beyond the pin and spins back down the slope towards the hole. He'll have maybe five feet for birdie and a 67.
Tiger jams the putt a bit to hard and it lips off the left edge. He settles for par and a 68.
Hole No. 17: Par 4, 440 yards: The 17th, known for the Eisenhower Tree on the left side of the fairway, requires an accurate tee shot -- and that is exactly what Tiger has delivered. The ball gets to the top of the hill at the landing area, which should give him an excellent chance to attack this green.
With a great angle of attack, Tiger won't be happy with that approach. His line was good, but the shot came up a full club short. He'll have about 40 feet up the hill and over a ridge for his birdie.
A decent lag putt leaves Tiger about 3 feet for his par. He marks the ball rather than electing to finish right there. No matter. He knocks it in smoothly.
Hole No. 16: Par 3, 170 yards: The scene of one of Tiger's greatest shots at Augusta, No. 16 is a relatively short par 3 with water to the left of the green. The ball will funnel towards the water so it is possible to get it close here.
Tiger's shot is directly over the flag, probably a half club long on the yardage. The ball moves left towards the water after it hits and rolls near the fringe. A good shot. Tiger will have about 20 feet for birdie. The putt will break left to right.
Tiger is brought to his knees as the putts barely misses on the low side. It looked good until the very last moment. Still, if he can par in, a 68 would be a great opening round.
Hole No. 15: Par 5, 530 yards: Tiger will be anxious to get back the shot he just gave up on No. 14. The hole has been lengthened in recent years and trees were planted on the right side of the hole making it a more demanding tee shot.
Tiger absolutely crushes the ball right down the middle. He should have no more than a middle iron into the par 5.
As soon as he hits the ball, Tiger begins walking towards the green. You just knew it was going to be good. The ball lands right over top the flag stick and doesn't move more than a couple feet. He'll have inside of 12 feet for eagle. It's been an up-and-down back nine, but he has a chance for his second eagle of the day.
And there it is. Tiger moves to 4 under. Believe it or not, this is the first time Tiger has ever had two eagles in the same round at the Masters.
Hole No. 14: Par 4, 440 yards: The only hole on the course without a bunker, Tiger stripes his tee shot straight down the fairway. Not normally thought of as a birdie hole, Tiger may have a go at this one on his second shot.
Tiger's approach is pulled very far left and his reaction is a familiar one. He lets the club slip out of his hand on the follow through, spins around and yells "God!" It did not sound like he uttered a true profanity, but that is definitely the kind of reaction people expected him to limit in his newly remade self. As for the shot, it's not good. The ball bounced off the downslope of the left side of the apron off the green and went into the area where the patrons are sitting. He's not in the pine straw, but he won't have much green to work with.
The pitch up is good, but not great. He will have about 8 feet for par.
It's unclear if Tiger pushed the putt or expected it to break left, but either way he missed it. The ball hung just off the right edge as it skirted the hole. He gives back the birdie he just got on No. 13.
Hole No. 13: Par 5, 510 yards: While he gave away a shot by missing an easy birdie putt at No. 12, the 13th represents a hole in which Tiger should be able to pick up a stroke. It's a short par 5 that bends significantly left. The approach has to carry Rae's Creek, but that shouldn't be a problem fr someone of Tiger's length.
The tee shot is absolutely perfect. He bends it right to left to mirror the contour of the hole and should have a great opportunity to get home in two.
Tiger starts his approach out to the right, drawing it back. The ball lands about 20 feet past the pin, right into the face of the slope on the green. With the soft conditions, the ball stops where it lands and begins to come back down the slope. It ends up hole high, 10 feet away for eagle.
Tiger gets aggressive with the left-to-right bender, but it lips the hole on the high side. He'll have about three feet coming up the hill for birdie. Drain-o. He's back to 3 under.
Tiger seemed to acknowledge the fans on Thursday more than he used to.
Hole No. 12: Par 3, 155 yards: As Tiger strides up to one of the most famous holes in golf, he gets a solid ovation from the patrons. Some even stand and applaud. Tiger doffs his hat to acknowledge them -- something you never used to see him do. Interesting.
Now to the hole. It's a short par 3, but it's over water, has a bunker in front and a very shallow putting surface. Long is not a good bailout area, either. There is another bunker there along with azaleas. A steep downhill chip awaits any golfer that ventures there. A very difficult hole.
Tiger takes a 9-iron. The deep mark his ball leaves in the green is a foot from the hole. The crowd goes wild. With the spin on the ball, it comes back a bit. He'll have maybe 5 or 6 feet for birdie.
Weather note: The rain has stopped and the wind seems to have calmed a bit. If it stays that way, scoring conditions could be good coming in with softer greens.
Tiger's birdie putt lips out. He seemed to just push it a bit right off the putter face. That's a shot he gave away.
Hole No. 11: Par 4, 505 yards: Amen Corner, perhaps the most famous three holes in golf, begins here. The most famous moment on No. 11, named "White Dogwood," was Larry Mize's 140-foot chip-in for birdie in a sudden-death playoff against Greg Norman in 1987. On a day like today, however, par is a great score.
Tiger takes out his driver. The tee shot is going way right. Woods begins to slam his club, but seems to try to temper himself mid-slam. Is this what he was talking about with being more respectful? He still did slam the club down, but refrained from cursing and some of his other antics. And he catches another break! The ball kicks out of the trees, and nearly ends up on the fairway. He'll have a lengthy second shot, but at least he's not in the woods.
Tiger plays a cut shot on his approach and has the ball holding its line perfectly. It bounces on the front portion of the green and kicks forward softly. He'll have a birdie putt of no more than 20 feet.
The birdie putt doesn't really threaten the hole, but it leaves Tiger with an easy tap-in. If he can get through No. 12 unscathed, he has a real shot to pick up some shots with par 5s coming up on Nos. 13 and 15.
Hole No. 10: Par 4, 495 yards: It may seem like a daunting yardage for a par 4, but if a player's drive catches the downhill fairway slope -- as Tiger's is likely to do -- it becomes a more manageable hole. But a tough approach still awaits regardless of the yardage.
Tiger takes a 3-wood off the tee and it comes out left. He gets a very fortunate bounce out of the trees and the ball comes to rest in the left rough. He'll have a shot from there.
The rain has started and umbrellas are out. No immediate danger of play being stopped right now, but the weather is definitely impacting the later players. Advantage on Day 1 to the golfers who had early tee times. The distribution of golfers across the leaderboard confirms that.
Tiger brings his approach in low and from right to left. It just makes the front edge of the green, but then rolls back off the front due to the slope. Given the wet conditions, however, the ball does not come very far back down the slope.
His pitch shot is too strong. It runs a good 5-7 feet past the hole, maybe more, which will leave him a very delicate downhill putt. He's in danger of giving back the birdie he got on No. 9.
The putt has left-to-right break and it just barely hangs up on the lip. The slower greens almost certainly had an effect on that putt. Unlucky that it didn't drop. Bogey for Tiger.
Hole No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards: The 9th begins a three-hole stretch of three very difficult par 4s. The tee shot on this one should be aimed down the right side for a good angle into the green, which features two large bunkers to the left. With a steep bank at the front of the green, an approach that is short could spin up to 60 yards back down the fairway.
Tiger's drive is left. Far left. He's behind a group of trees and will have to hook the ball if he wants to get it at the green. The wind is picking up as well.
Tiger starts the ball way out to the right and has it hooking perfectly. The ball must be hooking 30 yards. It lands in the middle of the long, deep and skips toward the back pin placement. The ball runs up the back fringe and starts trickling back towards the hole. It comes to rest about 12 feet from the hole. A definite birdie possibility.
With the wind increasing and some weather warnings popping up around the course, it will be interesting to see how many more holes the players can get in before the rain starts.
With his pants flapping in the wind, Tiger drains his birdie right in the center of the cup. He finishes the front nine eaglie-birdie.
Tiger grimaces after his tee shot on the par 3 4th goes over the green.
Hole No. 8: Par 5, 570 yards: Coming off his first bogey, Tiger will be eager to get it back. This par 5 should give him that opportunity. His drive puts him in good position for an approach to the green. He will no doubt try to go for this in two.
Tiger goes for it with a long iron, and his shot bounds off one of the mounds to the right of the green. The ball kicks down to the left towards the green. Hole high, the ball continues to trickle. It's a remarkable shot. Tiger has no more than 10 feet left for eagle.
It's a delicate putt with a bit of right-to-left break. He starts it off slowly. The ball starts to bend, but holds its line and drops in the bottom edge of the cup. A mini Tiger fist pump comes out. Eagle!
Hole No. 7: Par 4, 450 yards: Back in Byron Nelson's day, this hole played at 320 yards and was driveable, depending on the wind. No longer. Depending on what club players use off the tee, the approach could be with a middle, or even long, iron.
Tiger tosses some grass up in the air several times to try and gauge the wind. The tops of the Georgia pines are swaying fairly significantly. Using a fairway wood and aiming down the left-hand side, Tiger tries to use his "stinger" shot in which he keeps the ball below the wind. He does so, but the ball stays on its initial line, failing to cut. It comes to rest in the second cut of the left rough.
The wind is really picking up now. With a right-to-left wind, Tiger plays the ball out to the right, hoping that his draw and the wind will combine to bring it in towards the hole. The wind, however, holds the ball up, and it comes up short and right of the green. He'll have a pitch across the green ahead of him and a challenging up-and-down for par.
Tiger's pitch gets him to about 10 feet, but he is unable to make the putt and records his first bogey of the day. He falls back to even par.
Hole No. 6: Par 3, 180 yards: The 6th hole has an elevated tee box from which players shoot down to a large green with three tiers. There are significant slopes on all three levels. The pin today is in the back right part of the green. The 6th hole has not been changed in over 30 years.
Tiger's towering iron shot gets back to the correct tier and releases just a touch. He'll have about 15 feet, maybe a bit more, for birdie.
More hearty applause for Woods as he walks up the par 3 towards the green.
Tiger's left-to-right effort slides under the hole. He started walking towards the ball before it even got there, knowing it would miss. He tapped in from less than two feet for his par.
Hole No. 5: Par 4, 455 yards: Tiger takes driver on this medium-length par 4, and misses his first fairway of the day. He holds his arm out to the right and yells "Fore!" The ball skips off the edge of the fairway and goes into the right rough. Unclear yet if he will have clear shot at the green.
Tiger does, in fact have a clear shot at the green. As soon as he hits his iron approach, he begins yelling at the ball to "Go!" The ball reaches the front edge of the green and stops, leaving Tiger with a lengthy putt of probably 50 feet. Two putts from there will be a job well done.
Tiger aims his putt out at least 15 feet to the right. It's a huge breaker. The putt comes up about 5 feet short. That small putt will have plenty of break itself. Definitely a tester for par. Tiger steps up to the putt ... and drains it.
Tiger hits his approach to the green on the first hole Thursday.
Hole No. 4: Par 3, 240 yards: This beast of a par 3 requires a long iron for most players, and even a fairway wood for some. In the past, Tiger has hit something in the 4- or 5-iron range. Wind also plays a factor in club selection here. The group has a long wait on the tee as the threesome in front of them finishes the hole.
Tiger takes a fairway wood this time and seems flush it. The ball carries to the back fringe and kicks even further behind the green. This will be his first scramble for par.
If Tiger is nervous today, he isn't showing it with his play. An up-and-down from behind the green keeps him in red numbers and keeps his solid round going.
Hole No. 3: Par 4, 350 yards: Some audible calls of "Tiger!" and "Go Tiger!" from the patrons as Woods approaches the 3rd tee box. So far the reception has been quite positive from the Augusta crowd.
Tiger's drive on the shortest par 4 on the course finds the fairway again. That's three fairways in three holes to start. The ball doesn't kick forward as he may have been hoping, but Tiger should have a green light approach to this L-shaped green that slopes severely from right to left. (Fun fact: Hole No. 3 is named "Flowering Peach".)
With the pin in the back right, Tiger shouldn't have to deal with the slope of the green too much -- or the front bunker. He pitches the ball in low, it takes a few hops towards the hole and sucks back just a bit. He'll have maybe 6 feet for his first birdie of the day. Good touch on that shot. It's those sorts of "feel" shots that could be tough given his long layoff. His flop shot on No. 2 wasn't great. But this one was definitely Tiger-caliber.
The putt drops! Tiger has his first birdie.
A plane carried this heckling banner over Augusta National during Tiger's round Thursday.
Hole No. 2: Par 5, 575 yards : Tiger once again stripes his drive, getting a good roll down the slope. He may be able to go for this green in two. (Side note: Tom Watson just birdied No. 18 for a 5-under 67. That matches his lowest round ever at Augusta. He is the current clubhouse leader.)
Tiger's 3-wood approach hangs out to the right. It stays just on the right edge of the right greenside bunker. It's literally an inch or two from the sand. The pin is near the front of the green and his ball is actually close to hole high -- but he won't have much green to work with. The fact that he has an uphill lie for his chip should help him get some height on the shot and maybe even a little spin.
With the green sloping away from him, Tiger attempts a full-swing flop shot. The ball goes at least 20 feet beyond the hole. The slope at that point angles back toward the pin, so with the slope and a little spin the ball backs up a bit. Still, Tiger is a good 20 feet away for birdie.
The putt never has a chance. It's left all the way. It comes to rest about 3-4 feet left of the hole. Should be a par, but not a good birdie effort. Tiger's first mini knee-knocker is in the heart of the cup. He's still even.
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 445 yards: Tiger gets a huge round of applause as he arrives on the first tee. That must be a huge load off his mind. This is probably the most anticipated opening tee shot in major championship history. And he stripes it! Tiger spins his driver as we've seen so many times, the immediate indication that he liked the shot. The ball takes a few short hops in the fairway and comes to rest. Playing partners Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi also hit the fairway with their drives.
Tiger is taking a free drop in the middle of the fairway. It looks like his ball came to rest in either standing water or ground under repair. Unclear the exact situation, but it must be something similar to that. Tiger's approach to the first green is excellent. The ball hits hole high, about 10-12 feet left of the pin. It spins back a bit, but he'll have a makeable birdie putt from there.
Tiger's putt barely misses on the low side, leaving him an easy tap-in for par. He exhales deeply as he walks off the green. He's probably very glad to have that opening hole behind him.
Weather changing: The wind appears to be picking up on the course, and is expected to continue to do so as the front moves in. Conditions may be far more difficult for those golfers with later tee times, including Tiger.
Clean shaven: The goatee that Tiger was sporting during his practice rounds and in his Monday press conference is gone!
Tiger on the range: With less than hour before his tee time, Tiger is warming up on the range. He chatted briefly with Miguel Angel Jimenez after he arrived at the range. Jiminez was just finishing up there before heading to the putting green ahead of his tee time at 1:09 p.m. ET.
Weather update: After two straight days of record heat in Augusta, Georgia, golfers and patrons alike will get some relief. The bad news? Relief will likely come in the form of thunderstorms. According to The Weather Channel, a line of thunderstorms -- some of them strong -- will move through Augusta this afternoon. With lightning a distinct possibility, there is a chance play could be suspended. Given Tiger's 1:42 p.m. ET tee time, the weather could very well affect his round. More updates to come when we have them.