Tiger Woods falls apart in rusty PGA Tour return

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Fans flocked to famed Torrey Pines to watch Tiger Woods in his highly-anticipated PGA Tour return but he capitulated late to leave himself with plenty of work to do.

Competing on Tour for the first time since August 2015 due to persistent back problems, 14-time major champion Woods opened his Farmers Insurance Open campaign with a four-over-par 76 on Thursday.

Woods holed four bogeys and a double-bogey on the back nine as he ended the first round 11 strokes adrift of leader Justin Rose.

Woods looked like a starting pitcher trying to find the strike zone most of his round, missing tee shots and greens to the right and left while mostly avoiding the short grass he was aiming at.

After making the turn at one over, Woods jolted the crowd out of its daze with birdies on holes 10 and 11 to quickly get into red figures, but then the wheels fell off.

Woods bogeyed holes 12-14 to fall nine shots behind the leader in the clubhouse before disaster on the 15th hole virtually ended his hopes this week.

The 41-year-old snapped-hooked his tee shot into a hazard lying within a vast valley. He curled one in front of the green into the thick rough, and then failed to get up-and-down resulting in a double-bogey.

Woods dropped another shot at the 17th before he ended the day on a high as he birdied the 18th.