On Wednesday, Woods had his clubs out again, playing the pro-am in advance of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, which begins Thursday.
Playing rugged, redesigned and muscled-up Quail Hollow Club for the first time since 2012, Tiger Woods needed just two days to recognize that the course has become a grind, a much tougher test for the combatants in the Wells Fargo Championship than in years past.
After consecutive top-12 finishes at the Honda Classic, Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods finished a disappointing 32nd at Augusta National.
Dogged by injury and scandal, it has been 13 years since Woods last triumphed at Augusta and it appeared as if many of those teeing it up at the year's first major had forgotten what a ruthless competitor he was back then.
"I didn't hit my irons very good".
We just haven't seen it because Woods' long and short games haven't synced up on the same day.
"They are on the slower side". "They feel springy and they feel fast, especially when I'm walking on them, but they're not putting that way". Coming down the stretch, Tiger would birdie hole number 15 but would immediately bogey number 16.
"Ball-striking-wise, I'm fine", said Woods, who received a warm welcome from the fans on the first tee box in his return to Charlotte.
"I just didn't make anything today".
After a frustrating three-putt at the par-3 fourth left Woods at 1-over for the tournament, Woods converted a birdie chance at his first par-5 of the day. "I made some good swings and hit some good putts". He avoided severe trouble much of the day, and was never really in danger of making a double bogey.
Woods, who this week will chase his second victory at Quail Hollow following his triumph in 2007, will tee off in Thursday's opening round alongside Reed and reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.
It didn't look too hard for him in Wednesday's pro-am, nor did it for Hashmi, who's committed to play college golf at in and held his composure in the presence of Woods. "That's for sure. It's longer, but it's also more hard".
There might not be quite so many happy faces around the place come Sunday if, as some are predicting, the 14-times major victor can cap a fairytale comeback by adding a fifth Green Jacket to his collection. A terrific second shot at No. 15, the last of the par 5s, set him up well for his final birdie of the afternoon (even if he did give that stroke right back on No. 16). Strangely enough, Woods said Augusta National is probably the easiest course he has played all year in terms of scoring. "We're all going to be close", Woods said.