tiger woods

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

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Golf Channel

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Tiger Woods carded a front-nine five-over-par 41 during his first round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It looked bad from the very beginning as he pulled an iron off the first tee into the fescue on the left and grimaced.

That's not just any "Aw shucks, I hit it in the rough" grimace. That's the grimace of a 43-year-old with a fused spine playing golf in cold, windy and rainy weather after not playing competitive golf since the U.S. Open about a month ago.

Woods said that the chilly, damp weather at Pebble Beach made it difficult for him to get loose during the U.S. Open, which would make it a fair assumption that the 15-time major winner is struggling with his back in similar weather at Royal Portrush.

But if there's anybody who can overcome physical issues on the course, it's Tiger Woods. He did, after all, win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. He seemed to weather the storm with a world-class par on the first after two poor shots. He had makeable birdie opportunities on the second and third holes, but missed both.

Then the squares on the scorecard came. Woods went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey between the fifth and 10th holes. He hasn't looked particularly comfortable at any point during the round.

That reality has drawn reactions from just about everybody watching. 

It hasn't gone much better for Big Cat since. As somebody who moves the needle more than anybody else in the sport, nobody wants to watch him play like this. There's still some time left in Round 1, but things aren't looking good for Woods.

Tiger Woods is still an enormous draw 20 years into his career

Tiger Woods is still an enormous draw 20 years into his career

I've been playing golf since I was barely old enough to swing a club. I was born two months before Tiger Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters.

Ever since I can remember, I've been a Tiger Woods stan.

But the only real memory I have of Tiger being Tiger was when he won the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff against Rocco Mediate. I was 11. He'd won 13 majors before that, but I was too young to truly remember much of any of them. But the 91-hole Monday playoff I left elementary school early to go watch will stick with me forever.

That Tiger has hardly been seen since. His injury history and unceremonious fall from grace are well-documented. He may never actually be that Tiger again. Even if he's not, he'll always carry the same expectations, because that's what he expects of himself.

Thursday at the Quicken Loans National, a tournament he hosts, I got to watch him in person for the first time. Even though he shot an even-par 70, it was awesome.

The most famous golfer of all time doesn't need to be playing well to draw massive crowds.

Tiger was stuck in neutral for most of the first round. He had one bad hole that resulted in a double bogey and put a few approach shots close on the back nine to make a pair of birdies to get back to even. It never once seemed to matter to fans, who were several rows deep on all 18 holes all afternoon.

Rickie Fowler, who's undoubtedly the second most popular golfer in the field, also had a large following, which was noticeably younger than those following Tiger. But even Fowler, who's having a better season and has actually won in the last two years, couldn't match the crowds Tiger drew.

It seemed as though all the fans on the course were following one of those two groups, which were just one tee time apart, meaning they were on the same hole much of the afternoon. The group behind Tiger's featured Troy Merritt, Harris English and J.J. Spaun, who just so happens to be tied for the lead after a 7-under 63. There were no more than two dozen people following him at any point Thursday afternoon.

No, not even a young gun who was tying the course record could draw fans away from Tiger's average round.

Perhaps they thought he would get it going at some point like the old Tiger always seemed to. Perhaps they were waiting to see if they could catch a glimpse of anything that reminded them of the Tiger that once dominated the PGA Tour.

I know I was.

Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler headline 2018 Quicken Loans National field

Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler headline 2018 Quicken Loans National field

The 120-man field for the 2018 Quicken Loans National is set.

The tournament, which will run from June 28 - July 1 at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, boasts six former champions, including tournament host Tiger Woods. World No. 8 Rickie Fowler headlines the rest of the field that includes defending champion Kyle Stanley, World Nos. 15 and 16 Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman and 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker.

2018 QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL HOW TO WATCH:

What: The Quicken Loans National
When: Thursday, June 28th - Sunday, July 1st 
Where: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, Potomac, Maryland

DAY 1 COVERAGE (Thursday, June 28):

Time/ TV Channel: 
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Golf Channel
Livestream: Golf Channel Live extra

DAY 2 COVERAGE (Friday, June 29):

Time/ TV Channel: 
3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Golf Channel
Livestream: Golf Channel Live extra

DAY 3 COVERAGE (Saturday, June 30):

Time/ TV Channel: 
1:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Golf Channel
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. CBS
Livestream: Golf Channel Live/CBSSports Live

DAY 4 COVERAGE (Sunday, July 1):

Time/ TV Channel: 
1:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Golf Channel
3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. CBS
Livestream: Golf Channel Live/CBSSports Live

2018 QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL FIELD

Byeong Hun An
Abraham Ancer
Kiradech Aphibarnrat*
Ryan Armour
Aaron Baddeley
Blayne Barber
Zac Blair
Ryan Blaum
Jonas Blixt
Dominic Bozzelli
Scott Brown
Bronson Burgoon
Chad Campbell
Alex Cejka
Stewart Cink
Corey Conners
Ben Crane
Joel Dahmen
Tyler Duncan
Harris English
Matt Every
Derek Fathauer
Martin Flores
Rickie Fowler
Robert Garrigus
Brian Gay
Doug Ghim*
Fabián Gómez
Talor Gooch
Jason Gore*
Cody Gribble
Lanto Griffin*
Bill Haas
Chesson Hadley
Adam Hadwin
James Hahn
Brandon Harkins
David Hearn
J.J. Henry
Tom Hoge
J.B. Holmes
Billy Horschel
Beau Hossler
Charles Howell III
Mackenzie Hughes
John Huh
Billy Hurley III
Stephan Jaeger
Matt Jones
Sung Kang
Michael Kim
Si Woo Kim
Whee Kim
Jason Kokrak
Kelly Kraft
Anirban Lahiri
Martin Laird
Andrew Landry
Nate Lashley
Danny Lee
Marc Leishman
Nicholas Lindheim
David Lingmerth
Tom Lovelady
Jamie Lovemark
Hunter Mahan
Peter Malnati
Ben Martin
Denny McCarthy
Troy Merritt
Dylan Meyer*
Keith Mitchell
Francesco Molinari
Trey Mullinax
Kevin Na
Joaquin Niemann*
Geoff Ogilvy
Rob Oppenheim
Ryan Palmer
Rod Pampling
C.T. Pan
Cameron Percy
Martin Piller
D.A. Points
J.T. Poston
Ted Potter, Jr.
Seamus Power
Andrew Putnam
Jonathan Randolph
Doc Redman
Patrick Rodgers
Sam Ryder
Rory Sabbatini
Sam Saunders
Adam Schenk
Ollie Schniederjans
Ben Silverman
J.J. Spaun
Scott Stallings
Kyle Stanley
Shawn Stefani
Robert Streb
Kevin Streelman
Chris Stroud
Brian Stuard
Nick Taylor
Michael Thompson
Ethan Tracy
Kevin Tway
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Harold Varner III
Kristoffer Ventura*
Johnson Wagner
Jimmy Walker
Nick Watney
Richy Werenski
Gary Woodland
Tiger Woods
Andrew Yun*
Xinjun Zhang

*Denotes Exemption