PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — It had been a troublesome start for Tiger Woods at this British Open, and as he was putting on the eighth hole for what would possibly want to be been his first birdie on Thursday, a rainbow appeared over the Atlantic Ocean.
Woods squinted on the road of the 30-foot putt, wiped the blade of his putter, addressed the ball and missed.
Sometimes a rainbow is just a rainbow.
“I didn’t do much out there today,” Woods said later. “I hit a lot of missed shots, they were all left. Wasn’t hitting it solidly. Everything was off the heel. Just trying to scrape it around.”
The biggest he might deal with was a seven-over-par 78 inside the opening spherical at Royal Portrush, which was moreover the first British Open spherical in Northern Ireland since Portrush hosted the event in 1951.
Woods has long been a fan of Northern Ireland’s good packages and of the selection to return to the part of the world the place golf is every mainstream and cheap to the general public.
But as rather a lot as Woods wanted to honor the occasion and generate the identical type of communion with most people that he did whereas profitable the Masters in April, his 43-year-old physique and Portrush’s unforgiving format would not allow it.
Woods had six bogeys, one double bogey and just one birdie, which bought right here late inside the spherical on the 15th hole and which he celebrated a bit facetiously by elevating every arm. Woods appeared to be transferring gingerly from the start on Thursday, and he confirmed that he was struggling bodily after his highest-scoring spherical of the season by far.
Woods had spinal fusion surgical process in 2017 after a sequence of various operations to cope with disk points.
“I’m sore,” he said. “Just the way it is. Just Father Time and some procedures I’ve had over the time, just the way it’s going to be. One of the reasons why I’m playing fewer tournaments this year is that I can hopefully prolong my career and be out here for a little bit longer.”
This is simply Woods’s fourth event since his emotional victory on the Masters, his first fundamental win in nearly 11 years.
He missed the decrease on the P.G.A. Championship, accomplished in a tie for ninth on the Memorial Tournament and then tied for 21st on the United States Open.
He appears good on his technique to missing one different decrease proper right here, a 12 months after making an impressed run on the British Open at Carnoustie. Woods ended up in a tie for sixth then, which ought to have appeared like a distant memory as he headed off for treatment after the troublesome spherical at Portrush.
“That’s about all I can do, and hopefully the body responds,” said Woods, whose worst British Open spherical bought right here in his prime — a 10-over 81 at Muirfield in 2002. “I’m going to have days like this and have got to fight through it. And I fought through it.”
He was hardly alone in struggling via the cool, blustery and sometimes moist conditions. Certain players thrived, along with J.B. Holmes, a long-driving American who was moreover a straight-driving and fine-putting American on Thursday. He took the first-round lead with a five-under 66, a stroke ahead of Shane Lowry of Ireland.
But Woods and the other sentimental favorites often didn’t current the gang at Portrush what it craved.
Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland’s most excellent golfer, and a four-time fundamental champion set the course report of 61 on the earlier format at Portrush when he was merely 16 years outdated.
He had been striving to peak for this match, nonetheless immediately put himself in an unlimited deficit, hitting out of bounds on the first hole and ending it with a quadruple bogey. After composing himself and collaborating in sturdy golf for the next 14 holes, McIlroy then double-bogeyed the par-3 16th after missing a tap-in putt for bogey.
He then triple-bogeyed the 18th to finish his spherical of 79 rather a lot one of the simplest ways he had begun it.
“The one that I’m disappointed about most is the little short putt on 16; that was inexcusable,” said McIlroy, who’s No. 3 on this planet rankings. “Tee shots like the first happen. You can get one riding on the wind a little too much. That’s fine. But lapses of concentration like that, I feel like I’ve done a really good job over the last few years of being more with it and realizing, ‘O.K., just keep a cool head,’ and there I didn’t. I sort of hit it on the run and missed it.”
Graeme McDowell, a Portrush native, and the 2010 United States Open champion, moreover acquired an unlimited roar when he teed off inside the morning. He went two beneath on the doorway 9 and was nonetheless two beneath with two holes to play nonetheless bogeyed the 17th and then hit a drive into the powerful on the 18th. Despite a frantic search, he could not uncover his ball until a variety of seconds after the time restricts had expired.
McDowell wanted to return to the 18th tee in a cart, collectively along with his head in his fingers for part of the journey, to hit one different drive. He ended up with a triple-bogey 7 and a two-over-par spherical of 73.
“It’s a cruel sport,” McDowell said. “I got on the first tee this morning and literally had a tear in my eye, and then I had a tear in my eye on the last hole there for a different reason.”
McDowell and McIlroy had been two of the Northern Irish golfers whose fundamental success and lobbying helped persuade the British Open organizers that the time was lastly correct to return to Portrush. Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, was one different, and he fared greater on Thursday after being given the consideration of hitting the opening tee shot at 6:35 a.m. He was three beneath par on the first 5 holes and accomplished with an even-par 71.
Clarke, 50, said that the second was way more emotional than he had anticipated, and that he, like McIlroy earlier inside the week, was struck by how far Northern Ireland had come for the explanation that deadly political battle is typically known as “the Troubles” that began inside the late 1960s and was stemmed by a peace settlement in 1998.
“I think Rory summed it up perfectly: The Open wasn’t about him, it was about how far our country has come, how far it has moved forward,” Clarke said.
The British Open is basically probably the most very important world sporting event to be staged in Northern Ireland, nonetheless, it appears nearly certain that golf’s largest world star is just not going to achieve success it.
“If I am at home and have school pick up and soccer practices, I’m a lot sorer than I am now,” said Woods, a father of two children. “But playing at this elite level is a completely different deal. You’ve got to be spot-on. These guys are too good. There are too many guys that are playing well, and I’m just not one of them.”