Monday, April 05, 2010
Playing a practice round with Fred Couples at Augusta National, Woods was in the second group on the course -- Soren Hanson beat them out there by a few minutes -- and a gallery was quickly gathering around the world's No. 1 player.
Patrons weren't allowed onto the grounds until 8 a..m., but hundreds were already around the first and second holes as Woods played his first round in front of spectators since his personal life came unraveled on Thanksgiving weekend.
On a cool, soft morning, Woods received a warm welcome. One woman shouted, 'We love you, Tiger,' after he hit his opening tee shot. Walking down the first fairway with Couples, the sound of cameras clicking could be heard. Fans are allowed to bring cameras into the practice rounds and there were plenty of professional photographs along to document the day, as well.
Augusta National chairman Billy Payne was standing in the trees off the right side of the first fairway watching as Woods and Couples walked past.
Woods was smiling and laughing with Couples and seemed to make a point to acknowledge fans watching them play. After hitting his tee shot at the second hole, Woods chatted with a couple of patrons beside the ropes, reaching out to shake hands with a man who offered his hand.
Posted by Observer Sports at 8:19 AM