Woods's back nine was much more uneven, with a three-putt bogey at the par-3 12th, and another bogey at 18, where he fanned his tee shot into some clumpy sand right of the fairway.
The tournament scoreboard is here.
"It's proved that the surgery was successful and rehab has been fantastic".
GETTYTiger Woods net worth Woods is the third highest-paid golfer in the world
"I hadn't played in a while after some of the difficulties I've been through. I've still got a long way to go", added Woods, who also missed the entire 2015-2016 season. The Englishman - making his first appearance at the event - turned in a bogey free card with six birdies, and led Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar by one stroke.
On the par-five third his eagle putt from just off the green went just wide but left him with an easy birdie.
"I had a hard time all day with the speed on the greens". I blew majority past the hole. "I played nine straight days at home before coming here and that's one of the reasons I did just that".
That the world no. 18 was up at 4 am to feed young son Frankie seemed to have no effect on his fluent play and he said he felt good with his scores. The Masters, which Woods last won 12 years ago, are in April. This round featured five birdies and even included a signature Tiger fist pump (early in the round when he saved par with a putt from just off the green at the par-4 fourth). And who would bet against him?