Tiger Woods still shaking off the rust on competitive return

Tiger Woods lamented a "rusty" display with his irons on his return to official action, but was happy to be back on the course after signing for par after round one at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The 14-time major winner is the headline act this week at Torrey Pines, the scene of eight previous victories including his epic 2008 U.S. Open triumph.

Woods mixed three birdies with as many dropped shots on Thursday in his first official competitive round in 10 months after spinal surgery.

The bare numbers perhaps did not do justice to an impressive recovery from Woods, who was two over through five, but ended the day with a magnificent effort at the par-three 16th which drew acclaim from the crowd and playing partners Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman alike.

"It was fun to compete again, it's fun to be out there," Woods told Golf Channel.

"We had a great pairing. Pat played great, Charlie was solid all day... and I was probably a little rusty."

Asked to surmise his shortcomings, Woods replied: "I've got to hit my irons a little better than I did today.

"I didn't hit them very close, didn't give myself a lot of looks. It's hard to make birdies when you're not giving yourself any looks.

"Tomorrow hopefully I'll drive better and hopefully hit irons a lot closer and we've got the better of the two greens tomorrow so we'll see what happens."

The Torrey Pines crowd was amped up when Woods dropped his tee shot off 16 to within inches after the ball had initially looked destined for the cup and the 42-year-old was happy with the highlight.

"It looked good from the tee," he added. "We can't see anything land from back there.

"It was just a full six iron, trying to throw it up as high in the air as I could. It felt good, looked good, I just listened for some noise... Wind got it!"

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