ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The game of golf rarely looks as easy as it did for Tiger Woods on Thursday. Even at the height of his dominance, it never appeared to be that simple.
He was always getting up and down from garbage cans and maneuvering his way around, over or under trees. He would find harrowing trouble and miraculously emerge better from it. Part of his immense brilliance was his ability to somehow turn a score of 73 into a 68.
So there he was at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, hardly breaking a sweat on the first day of his new year. Amazingly, only once did he pull out a wedge to hit a chip shot -- and it came on the very first hole. He hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation. Of the four fairways he missed, never did he send a spectator scurrying.
Only when he got to the greens could you find fault with Woods. A ball-striking round like the one he had at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship should have yielded far fewer strokes than the 70 he signed for after 18 holes.
And haven't we seen this before?