SAN DIEGO -- There was bound to be some competitive rust, an adjustment to hitting shots with anxiety pumping through his veins for the first time in months, perhaps even some ugliness here and there during Tiger Woods' first round of 2019.
But for the most part Thursday at Torrey Pines, things looked normal for Woods during his opening-round 70 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The shots were mostly good, as were the putts. There were the inevitable errors that are bound to occur on a long, difficult golf course. And there is quite the gap between Woods and first-round leader Jon Rahm, who shot 62.
Complaints, however, were minimal.
"I felt pretty comfortable with everything today," said Woods, who had five birdies and three bogeys and is tied for 53rd. "I felt I drove it halfway decent today and irons were good, but not great. Just my feel. Playing at competitive speed again. I didn't quite hit all my irons pin-high like I normally do. That's something hopefully I'll have a better handle on tomorrow. It was nice to have some juice flow in the system again. It's been a while. I missed it."
Since winning his 80th PGA Tour title on Sept. 23 at the Tour Championship, Woods competed only at the following week's Ryder Cup, then the one-day Phil Mickelson match, followed by the Hero World Challenge in late November. That tournament ended seven weeks ago.
But unlike a year ago at Torrey Pines, where Woods returned to competition nine months after spinal fusion surgery, many of the uncertainties are gone.
He has equipment and a golf ball that he has tested extensively, and he is far more familiar with his body's limitations. He appeared confident in practice, and even managed to par the first hole on the South Course, one that has traditionally given him fits.
On a picture-perfect day along the Pacific with virtually no wind, Woods' first birdie of the year came on the sixth hole, a par-5, and he went on to make birdies on all four par-5s. He also rifled a long iron shot in the par-3 11th from 216 yards to set up a short birdie putt and dropped a 30-footer at the 13th.
His only bogeys came at the second, 12th and 16th holes, and he concluded his round with a 12-footer for birdie at the 18th.
"I'm not used to having this much adrenaline in my system," Woods said. "It's been a while, so try to get a feel for that and try to get a feel for how my body's rotating and how much further I hit it in a tournament situation than at home. That's always been the case, but I hadn't played in a tournament since the Tour Championship. It's going to take a little bit to get my feel back."
Woods will play the easier North Course on Friday, where four of the top five rounds were shot on Thursday. Rahm's 10-under 62 was one stroke off the course record, and No. 1-ranked Justin Rose shot 63 as did Doug Ghim. Jordan Spieth, making his second start of 2019 after missing the cut two weeks ago in Hawaii, shot 65 on the North.
For Woods, there is plenty of room for improvement. He hit 7 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, needing 28 putts.
"Shooting a couple under on the South Course is not so bad, but now I'm forced to have to shoot a low one tomorrow just like most of the field did over there today," he said. "I'm sure the average score over there has got to be close to under 68 today. I've got to go do it tomorrow."
He tees off Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET, with those who make the 36-hole cut playing the South Course during the weekend.