HOYLAKE, England – The comparisons were always going to be misguided, if not wildly unfair.
This was always going to be a different course than the one that hosted the great Dust Open of 2006. It was, observers concluded, a different swing, a different time, a different Tiger than the one who surgically picked the place apart on his way to his third claret jug eight years ago.
Despite that reasoning, those comparisons were sure to come. It is always the burden that when you author a masterpiece fans eagerly await a sequel that is every bit as captivating no matter how outrageous those expectations may be.
When Tiger Woods bogeyed the first hole early on Thursday at Royal Liverpool the social universe reminded anyone with a wireless connection that he also bogeyed his first hole in ’06, when arguably the best ball-striking week of his career delivered a two-stroke victory.
When he bogeyed the second, however, a chorus of concern could be heard across the Dee Estuary; but slowly, methodically, earnestly, Woods plodded his way back to relevance:
A birdie at the par-5 fifth hole from 8 feet to turn at 1 over was followed by a barrage of five birdies in six holes starting at No. 11.
Maybe this could be like ’06.
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