CARNOUSTIE, Scotland - Tiger Woods' much anticipated return to the British Open after a two-year hiatus sparkled early on before ending in a level-par 71 at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The 42-year-old three-time Open champion - who due to back issues had missed the last two editions - admitted afterwards he was suffering from a sore neck but insisted it had not affected his round too much.
Woods has shown glimpses of his old form at times since returning to the tour last December, and he looked in good order as he went out with two birdies, before an erratic inward nine featured three bogeys and just one more birdie.
"It's been bugging me for a while," said Woods of his neck complaint. "Everyone acts like this is the first time I've been bandaged up. I've been doing this for years...braces and bandages, just that this time it's actually visible."
Woods said he felt good on the practice range prior to his round in the afternoon and remarked that he couldn't really blame the neck problem for his play, except with his swing from time to time. "You know, a little bit here and there, but it's all right," he said after finishing the day five shots behind leader Kevin Kisner.