TIGER WOODS was wielding the club like a scalpel, dissecting Lytham's fairways with all the delicate precision of a master surgeon. So pronounced was this perfectionist streak that on the tee at the par-five 11th, where he found the short stuff and yet failed to land the ball in the exact spot he intended, he chuckled softly at his own perceived ineptitude.
It was a fleeting yet telling barometer of the Tiger mindset. For he has resolved to apply a time-honoured habit of restraint to the Open Championship, mapping out the hills and hollows of this bouncy links with a cartographer's skill, and never unknowingly pulling the trigger. Thus did he intimidate the rest within his first seven holes, reaching four under par at warp speed before settling into a rhythm of par golf.
Woods refused to be greedy with this tight and treacherous layout, or to dice with rough so luxuriant that one could lose not just balls but people in its uncharted depths.
"We've got a lot of golf to play. I hit the ball well all day," Woods reflected. "I felt like I had pretty good control. I was shaping the ball both ways - sometimes I rode the wind, sometimes I held it against it."