Woods relieved to be back playing major golf

Playing major golf and fighting to stay in the hunt are two things that brought a smile to Tiger Woods' face on day one of the Masters.

Tiger Woods salutes the Augusta patrons   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods concedes there was a weight off his shoulders after completing his first major round of golf since the 2015 US PGA Championship, but was more relieved to play himself back into contention during the opening day of the Masters.

Woods last played at Augusta three years ago, and his well-documented back issues have kept him out of the past eight major tournaments.

The 42-year-old, a four-time green jacket winner, fought hard to record a one-over-par 73 – seven shots back from leader Jordan Spieth – having been three over at one stage.

And Woods is confident he still has a part to play over the coming days.

"Yes [there was a weight off my shoulders]," he said. "I played in a major championship again.

"But also the fact that I got myself back in this Tournament, and I could have easily let it slip away.  

"And I fought hard to get it back in there, and I'm back in this championship. There's a lot of holes to be played.

"It's going to be packed, we knew that.  The weather is going to change.  It will be fun the next 54 holes."

Despite having missed the last two instalments, Woods insists there were no nerves before teeing off.

"No, I actually felt pretty good.  My practice sessions have been really, really good," he added.

"And my play coming into this event has been pretty solid.  So, the nerves really were just normal. 

"I wasn't flying high.  I wasn't jittery, I wasn't any of that stuff.  I was very confident in what I was doing.  And I hit some good shots early, unfortunately they just didn't continue."