DUBLIN, Ohio (ESPN) – For nearly 20 years, Tiger Woods has walked onto the first tee at a professional golf tournament, acknowledged the cheering crowd, stuck a tee in the ground and started the day’s journey by launching a shot for squinting eyes to try to follow.
To be exact, Thursday marked the 307th time he has done so in a PGA Tour event, which doesn’t include all those other times he’s done so in events official and unofficial around the world.
And yet the man who has been ranked No. 1 in the world for more weeks than any other player, the one who has 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 majors and countless other positives in a game filled with so many pitfalls, still feels the jitters when he does what would otherwise appear to be so routine.
“Oh, I always get nervous,” Woods said following his opening-round 73 at the Memorial. “That’s great. And the day I don’t feel nervous on the first tee is the day I quit. That means I don’t care anymore. I want to feel that juice on the first day.”