The Open: Tiger Woods off to a flyer at Carnoustie

On the plus side, however, Woods didn't appear to be showing any ill effects from what his camp called a bad night's sleep, one that led to a minor panic when Woods showed up at Carnoustie with black kinesio tape on his neck.

Conditions may be rather more benign this week, as Scotland's east coast has enjoyed a prolonged summer heatwave that has turned the fairways brown.

"Prepare the way I normally do and go out and play and see what happens". Knox was asked if Woods did anything to help the 33-year-old Scot, a likely future Ryder Cupper, relax on the course. He is just six months younger than LeBron James.

Carnoustie - or "Carnasty" as it's been affectionately dubbed - has hosted two of the four highest scoring Open Championships since World War Two, with Gary Player winning with a score of 289 in 1968 and Paul Lowrie claiming the Claret Jug with a cumulative score of 290 in 1999. "It's kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest". The golf course played quick.

American Kevin Kisner took the first step towards joining his housemates as a major champion while Tiger Woods had to settle for a par finish after the opening round. But his score could have and should have been lower. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos.

Woods also birdied the 11th after that blemish at the 10th, but he said afterwards: "I played better than what the score indicates". But Rose has lagged behind the leaders at The Open, joining Johnson in 54th place previous year. Woods is an early riser and a poor sleeper and the late-day seaside wind often picks up here before it dies.

Woods is scrutinized so heavily, fans seem to know which of his fingernails grow fastest.

"I felt like I could shoot something under par today, it would be good", Woods said.

Asking Woods about his injuries used to be like asking a Central Intelligence Agency agent for his iPhone contacts.

"I hadn't seen a weather change like that of all my years on Tour, not like that, not that quickly. It would be cool to return the favor and let him look at it a little bit". But that was as far as he would go. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck. "How would you feel playing with him?" If I just clean up those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them with eight-iron in my hand, I think I'd probably have the best round in the afternoon wave. But this is different, knowing who you're playing with.

"I spent a lot of time with Jordan and the Claret Jug, " Kisner said.

"Look what Tom did at Turnberry at 59, I believe he was".

Knox was nearly embarrassed by how Woods's presence affected him: "I feel like I should know what I'm doing. It's hard for people to understand it, but it's just the nature of this golf course".

"So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate, but unless you actually know what's happening I just really don't take any notice of it".

The Ireland links agreed with Ryan Fox who finished runnerup in the Irish Open and earned $1 million in the process. But Tiger wasn't in the field.

Though the draw here won't be a significant factor - or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon - it's clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most hard of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 miles per hour and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon. Tom Lehman is here, he has been around a lot longer than Woods, and if Knox sees Lehman, he might ask him to valet his auto. The old Tiger Woods would have been all business, get-in, get-out in his postgame remarks. Golfers appreciate that even more than the rest of us do.