It took just one shot from Tiger Woods at the British open to get the whole golf world talking.
A subtle but certain grimace after Woods’ first tee shot didn’t go unnoticed, with fans worldwide immediately speculating that the golfing superstar was once again injured.
The talk reached a fever pitch later on the front nine, when Woods again seemed to be in pain after clearing an uncomfortable-looking shot from the rough.
Woods struggled throughout the first round, finishing tied for 144th place after firing a seven over par 78 at Royal Portrush.
Tiger Woods in excruciating pain here @ the seventh green. I strongly believe that he will not be playing tomorrow. Usual back problems.— Edward. (@Adam62407978) July 18, 2019
He's just gone bogey, bogey, bogey.
Tiger woods wincing in pain after his first tee shot was easily the most terrifying moment of my life— caneron (@cameron_starr5) July 18, 2019
Woods headed straight for the physiotherapist after posting his worst first-round score at The Open.
The Masters champion, who is restricted by the four operations he has had on his back, knew as soon as he began warming up on the range around 2pm on Thursday that he was in for a testing day.
And the seven-over 78 he carded - which included just one birdie that did not arrive until the 15th hole - proved his point.
It was the 15-time major winner's worst 18 holes at an Open since an 81 in round three at Muirfield in 2002, but he admitted there was little he could do about it and hoped treatment would get him in a better state for Friday.
"That's about all I can do. Hopefully the body responds. That's just the nature of the procedure that I had," said Woods, who goes out again at 10.09am local time on Friday.
"I'm going to have days like this and I've got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately I did not post a very good score.
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"I'm sore. 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."
Woods' start was mixed to say the least as he found the left rough off the first tee, hit his approach into a bunker but managed to get up and down for par.
He admits that was about as good as it got and even his solitary birdie was celebrated with a sarcastic licking of his right index finger to chalk up a number one in the air.