Plus, he was coping with a sore wrist from last weekend that hurt so much he only played nine holes this week in practice.
It was the latest example of the Swede’s temper, and he handled it with an apology to Conway Farms and self-deprecating humor.
“I really knew I had to be in a good frame of mind coming out there if I wanted to play good golf this week,” Stenson said. “As some of you noticed, I wasn’t that on Monday when I finished up in Chicago. So it was a good turnaround mentally. I stayed very level-headed — kept the head on, both myself and drivers and played a great round of golf.”
Asked how he could go from the joy of winning a FedEx Cup playoff event to losing his temper in one tournament, Stenson replied, “I can tell you don’t have much experience with Swedes, do you?”
“No, I’ll tell you I’ve always been a bit of a hot-head, and I just haven’t been able to get any rest,” he said. “I was looking forward to that Monday back home and lying on the couch — the kids in school and me just doing nothing, and I ended up playing golf again on that Monday. I was just tired, and I pushed myself over the edge there.
“That’s not the best place to be and not the best frame of mind to play good golf,” he said. “I’m really delighted with the change I made to today.”
Seventeen players broke par in the opening round.
Woods wasn’t alone in his struggles. Phil Mickelson switched to the claw grip midway through his round and nothing seemed to help. He had a 71. Nick Watney, coming off a runner-up finish in Chicago just to get into the Tour Championship, had a 72. PGA champion Jason Dufner was in last place at 74.