A month removed from a disasterous late-showing at The Masters, No. 1-ranked Tiger Woods began the first round of the Players Championship Thursday at TPC Sawgrass on Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.
Woods avoided a disqualification after it was discovered he made an illegal drop during the third round at Augusta last month, and eventually finished with a 5-under 283 for fourth place.
The 37-year-old was the odds on favorite heading into the Masters, and played like it in the first two rounds, but eventually fell apart after the botched drop. Woods is still the top money earner on the tour, first in the FedEx Cup standings, and third in putting average.
Woods started his round at Sawgrass at 1:49 p.m. Eastern, and will have to chase early leaders American Roberto Castro and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.
Castro shot a 9-under 63 in his first round, including an eagle on the par-5 second hole, and five birdies on the back-nine.
McIlroy knocked in six birdies, and sits in second place with a 6-under par. He had never shot par or made at cut at the Players Championship before Thursday.
Masters champion Adam Scott shot a 3-under par in his first round, and American Phil Mickelson started his round just before Woods.
A live online stream of the action can be viewed here at official PGA Tour site.
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