Focused Tiger on the pace from the outset
The confident stare at the cup on the sixth green as the ball disappeared and a nonchalant birdie putt at the seventh said it all as Tiger Woods began the British Open with an ominous three-under-par 67.
It was by no means the best opening round the American has played but worryingly for the rest of the field the greens are slow and the 14-times major winner's putting stroke looked razor sharp as he tucked in three shots behind leader Adam Scott.
From the moment Woods walked on to the range with the look of a prize-fighting boxer at around 0900 local time, barely saying a word, to when he rolled in a long birdie putt at the first hole around 45 minutes later, his intentions were clear.
The former world number one is gunning for his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open.
To achieve that goal, putting will be key and Woods took just 30 strokes on the Lytham greens.
''I only hit one putt that was off line,'' Woods said. ''I just needed to hit the putts a little bit harder. These greens are not quick,'' a contented world number four told a scrum of reporters behind the practice green at the Lancashire links.
''With the amount of rain that they've had on these things, they're not very fast. So I've got to make that adjustment.
''I was very close on making a few more putts,'' the 36-year-old added.
Woods made a sparkling start with four birdies in seven holes and went on to hit 13 out of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation.
With three wins already this year, however, Woods knew he was hitting the ball well despite the occasional meltdown, most famously at the Masters where he threw down his club in disgust.
Recapturing his form on the greens, the main factor that propelled him to an unprecedented 14 major titles in just over 11 years, is what the American yearns for most.
His one mishap came at the tough 15th where he pulled his drive left into deep rough and the course bared its teeth after being pummelled by Woods early on.
As spectators scrambled for position and photographers fell over one another, Woods showed his tetchy side by angrily pulled television cables away from his ball before hitting his worst shot of the day into yet more trouble.
''People don't realise how deep some spots are. Some spots are pretty benign, but then there are a few spots where it's pretty deep out there,'' Woods said.
''I figured 80 yards in the air would have been good to leave myself with a chance to get to the green. Unfortunately, it grabbed the shaft and just turned it down.''
The punishment was his only bogey of the day but it failed to take the smile off Woods's face as he joked with playing partners Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia over the closing three holes.
''I was playing to my spots. I had certain sections I wanted to put the ball in and I did that all day,'' said Woods.
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