Playing in only his second tournament in five months after enduring back problems for much of last year, the former world number one looked rusty as he struggled with his short game under leaden skies at the TPC Scottsdale.

Woods sprayed his drives, under-hit several approaches and was a frustrated figure after duffing a few chip shots from just off the green before ending the day a distant eight strokes off the early lead.

"It was just about trying to be so committed to the swing change and do it," Woods, who has been working with new consultant Chris Como, told reporters after hitting only five of 14 fairways and reaching 10 of 18 greens in regulation.

"I struggled with it at the very beginning. I saw a lot of balls go to the right, then I started to fix it on the back nine.

"I just need tournament rounds like this where I can fight, fight through it, turn it around, grind through it and make adjustments on the fly."

The highlight of his round was an eagle at the par-five 13th where he struck a four-iron from 226 yards to within a foot of the cup and knocked in the putt to spark loud roars from the massive galleries watching his every move.

Woods also thrilled the crowds with his tee shot at the par-four 17th, driving the green from 342 yards and then two-putting from 18 feet for birdie.

But the bad and ugly components cost him dearly, particularly on his first 11 holes, as he recorded four bogeys, a birdie and a double at the par-three fourth where he failed to reach the green off the tee and then fluffed his second shot.

The galleries were lined six deep on either side of the fairway when Woods arrived on the tee at the par-four first to a rapturous welcome, one fan shouting out: "Good luck Tiger" and another yelling: "It's your year, baby".

However, Woods missed the fairway to the right on the opening hole and ended up short of the green with his approach at the second as he set the tone with consecutive bogeys.

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