PALM BEACH GARDENS -- The two best golfers in the world had similar assessments of their game after the first round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa on Thursday, and they weren’t smiling as they gave those assessments.
Rory McIlroy, world No. 1, referred to his round as “OK.”
Tiger Woods, world No. 2, referred to parts of his round as “boring.”
They both shot even-par 70s to place themselves in a tie for 61st, six shots behind leader Camilo Villegas.
McIlroy and Woods had the majority of the fans following them on Honda’s opening day, but they did not have the majority of the good shots.
Nevertheless, neither is disconcerted nor giving up on winning the tournament.
“If I can go out Friday and shoot a good one,” McIlroy said, “and put myself into position going into the weekend, it will be nice. But we’ll see what happens in the morning.”
McIlroy concedes his game has been, and still is, somewhat erratic as he has switched to Nike clubs while also tinkering with his swing. “When you’re working on your swing a lot, it’s hard to commit to the shot that you need to play every time,” he said. “You just revert back to your habits.”
Asked if he worked on his swing during the round, McIlroy did not hesitate: “Yeah, for sure, definitely.”
He added: “I felt like I hit the ball OK [Thursday]. Not as good as I can, but it’s getting there.”
Putting a finishing damper on his round was an un-McIlroy-like bogey on No. 18. “I only had 105 yards in for my third shot and ended up taking a 6. Not the nicest way to finish,” McIlroy said.
At least Woods had one impromptu shot during his round that pleased his followers.
On No. 6 he hit a ball into shallow water. “It was only half-submerged, so I could play some kind of explosion shot and get it back into the fairway,” Woods said.
Off came his shoes and socks and on came some rain pants.
He blasted a 9-iron out, leaving the ball 81 yards from the pin. That was followed by a sand wedge to 10 feet, and he rolled it in for par.
Like McIlroy, Woods seems to think it is not improbable for him to win this tournament.
“I hit so many putts right around the edge that just were not going in,” he said. “I’ll still stick with what I’m doing because it’s not very far off.”