Tiger shoots even-par 71 to open Wells Fargo Championship

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Woods tied for 32nd at Augusta National, while McIlroy squandered a chance to complete the career grand slam after starting the final round in second place behind eventual champion Reed.

Woods made a mixed start in Charlotte, North Carolina, shooting an even-par 71. "It gave me a lot of confidence", said Niemann, who says his ability with the driver should hold him in good stead this week. "We're gonna go to the putting green and regroup and hopefully get better with the putter".

What to watch for: As Bob Harig notes at ESPN.com, Woods' short game has been as good as anyone's. Or even if he makes enough money to keep his card? Woods, Koepka and Reed won't have long to wait before teeing it up again. They're more hard to carry, and some of the greens have more slope.

"I drove it great on the weekend, but I kept hitting the ball above the hole or in the wrong spot", he said. I made a bogey there at 10. "Now I'm just trying to get a little bit better".

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Sound golf math from Woods and an accurate assessment.

Despite only hitting 6 of 14 fairways, Woods gained more than a stroke on the field off the tee thanks to a driving average of 329.4 yards. Woods has struggled to put all the pieces together so far this year.

Woods last played this course in 2012, before major renovations, including at the highly-unpopular par-3 fourth hole. "Just struggled with the speed of the greens".

"When Tiger committed to the tournament my teacher Jordan Dempsey texted me and said, 'You should play with Tiger on Tuesday, '" Love said. "It's longer, more hard". Woods was unable to defend his 2013 title at THE PLAYERS due to a back surgery, but returned in 2015 and finished T69, his most recent start at TPC Sawgrass. He entered the tournament ranked 8th on Tour in strokes gained: putting.

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Big picture, this was a promising round. He found another red number on the par-4 eighth where he knocked in a 28-footer for birdie.

"The way this golf course is set up and the way it's playing right now, the guys are going to be stacked", Woods said. He's not out of it but has a lot of names to surpass.

It was Woods' first time back in the public eye since that furious lead-up to the first major of the year, during which he evoked memories of the glory days with a T-2 finish at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It took the then-36-year-old Mickelson 14 starts at THE PLAYERS before his first victory - the most before a win of anyone except Tom Kite and Fred Funk, who both needed 15 starts at THE PLAYERS before their first win.

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