He had to play through some back tightness but still managed to shoot an even-par 72 on Thursday at the Memorial Tournament.
But Woods said he had difficulty getting loose as he played his first seven holes in 4 over par at Muirfield Village Golf Club before rebounding to shoot even-par 72 in the first round of the Memorial Tournament.
World number eight Jason Day is the highest ranked player on the leaderboard, the Australian posting four birdies in the first six holes in a 68.
And when quizzed if his back concern had anything to do with playing the host course each day since Monday, the 42-year old laughed off the question saying: "No, I just have days like that".
"To me, this is a little bit different coming back off not really playing for a while and I remember the feelings when I was down at the Valspar when I had a chance to win there and I finished second and it really felt comfortable".
Matsuyama was just 1 under through 12 holes before catching fire on the back nine.
"Obviously, that's what he's doing".
"I wasn't rotating very well today, back was tight, and just it is what it is some days", said Woods, who only returned to the Tour in January after undergoing spinal fusion surgery. "He just kept urging me to be patient with it because he could see that I've made some pretty big strides this year, and not far away from putting it all together". Unfortunately, today was one of those days, and that's all right.
"I only walked two nine-hole practice rounds at Torrey before teeing-up and not many knew what I was going through", he said. "I was able to make them on the fly, which was nice". The ball went over an iron fence and into a backyard, out of bounds.
He won his first Web.com Tour event in January 2016 and won his first PGA Tour event in October at the Sanderson Farms Championship in MS in the 105th start of his career. "My back is fused".
QUOTABLE: "Sometimes", - Lucas Glover, who shot a 5-under 67 in his return to competition after his wife, Krista, was arrested on charges of domestic battery and resisting arrest without violence during the Players Championship, when asked if the golf course is a sanctuary for him.
Nicklaus said on Wednesday Woods would need to remember how to close out a victory if he is to add to his collection of 14 major championship titles. "I've been on runs before where getting "Ws" came pretty easy and there were stretches where it was very hard". But while Hideki Matsuyama is one of three entering Friday with the lead at 7 under, there are plenty of big names in striking distance ahead of Round 2 at Muirfield Village. He reached the green in five and finished with a one-putt bogey.