The 14-time major victor Woods easily had group partner Day's measure on day one at Florida's famed Bay Hill course, firing a four-under-par 68 while Day struggled to a 73. Tiger birdied Nos. 4, 6 and 7 with the denouement coming on the final of those birdies, a 71-foot putt to get to 4 under. The last time Woods won a major was at the US Open in 2008 and his last Green Jacket win came in 2005. Woods immediately pressed his hand down, asking for the ball to slow down, and then watched it drop for a most unlikely birdie.
Tiger Woods tees off on the 12th tee during the first round at Bay Hill. I know where to miss it, I don't have to really think that much and just going out there and doing it. The electricity that courses through the crowds when Woods is playing well, he added, "just seems to kind of elevate, and for some reason it just kind of gets me going".
It's a great sight to see Tiger back doing what he does best and playing with a smile on his face.
But the 30-year-old Queenslander attributed it to poor iron play, averaging 51 feet from the hole on approach shots.
Rory McIlroy, who has had a sluggish start on the PGA Tour and missed the cut in two of four starts, had looked poised to feature on the leaderboard until a double bogey at 18 left the Northern Irishman with a 69, five off the pace. There's no other tournament like it.
Woods had no complaints, and about the only thing that went wrong - except for the tee shot on No. 3 that went OB - was his prediction before he left Bay Hill. A win this week would give him 80 in his career, just two shy of all-time leader Sam Snead.
"I love being on top when Tiger's around", Reed said. Also in a greenside bunker on the finishing hole, Lowry - who'd eagled the 16th to get to level par on his round - watched in horror as his recovery shot cleared the green and finished in the rocks on the lakeshore and he was forced to take a penalty in running up a triple-bogey seven to sign for a 75.
Woods, a record eight-time victor of the PGA Tour event, continued to show good signs on his return. "The narrative has completely flipped from how you guys ask me questions, and I just wanted to remind you guys that it wasn't that long ago that you were asking a different set of questions and that you need to enjoy it".