Tiger Woods made his first appearance on Monday since May's US PGA Championship, when he ramped up preparations for the Open Championship in front of packed galleries at a pro-am event in Ireland.
The 15-time major champion, 46, sat out last month’s US Open as he continues to make his way back from injuries sustained in a life-threatening car crash in February last year, but returned to competitive action in the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort in County Limerick.
Woods, who almost lost his right leg in the single-car accident, rode in a golf cart at times en route to a 5-over-par 77, although he still managed to wow the hefty crowd with a chip-in eagle at the par-5 12th hole. By the time the first round of the two-day event had concluded, the American ranked 43rd of the 50 players in the individual competition.
Woods agreed to the pro-am back in April, as he targets a 16th major title at next week’s 150th Open Championship, at St Andrews in Scotland. The former world No 1 lifted two of his three Claret Jugs at the “Home of Golf”, winning there in 2000 and 2005. The Open runs July 14-17.
After Day 1 of the JP McManus Pro-Am, which welcomed a host of leading names from the sport - LIV Golf Invitational Series members, including Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, were permitted to tee it up - American Xander Schauffele holds a three-shot lead following an 8-under 64.
Compatriot Rickie Fowler sits second, with England's Tyrrell Hatton third at 4-under. Meanwhile, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy opened with a 1-under 71.