THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Tiger’s round a real stinker

Tiger Woods never had a handle on his ball-striking in Round 1, shooting a 70 that left him seven shots out of the lead. Tiger Woods never had a handle on his ball-striking in Round 1, shooting a 70 that left him seven shots out of the lead. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / September 5, 2009

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NORTON - Tiger is just like you and me. He occasionally throws a club when he hits a bad shot and he uses a port-o-potty when there is no other option.

That’s right, ladies and gents, Eldrick T. Woods is one of us. If not for the 14 victories in majors, the hundreds of millions of dollars in winnings and endorsements, and his standing as the most famous athlete on the planet, Tiger would be just another guy hacking his way around TPC Boston in this weekend’s Deutsche Bank Championship. He shot a 1-under 70 yesterday and is seven strokes off the lead.

But you’re still wondering about the trip to the port-o-potty, right?

It’s true.

I saw it with my own eyes.

Tiger had just hit his tee shot on the par-4 ninth, his final hole. While Steve Stricker and Heath Slocum prepared to hit their drives, Tiger walked to his left toward one of those smelly-but-necessary units that are part of outdoor events around the world. A police officer stood guard while Tiger opened the plastic door, went inside, closed the door, and did his business.

This is standard stuff, of course. The pros are out there for five hours, hydrating along the way, and they’re not always handy to the clubhouse or a private hospitality tent.

Still, it’s different when it’s Tiger.

“Sometimes people applaud him when he comes out,’’ said the Globe’s crack golf scribe, Michael Whitmer.

Hmmm. That’s a little weird. Sort of like the way you treat a 3-year-old in training.

Way to use the potty, like a big boy!

Thank goodness the Tour provides players with units inside the ropes. Better chance for privacy. Less chance of overflow.

Call me naive, but I just figured Prince Tiger Woods would have beautiful girls throwing rose petals in his path, and a private bathroom with gold fixtures near his person at all times. I don’t think any Pope John ever used a portable john. Why Tiger?

He is, after all, the richest and most decorated athlete in the world. His presence is what brings casual sports fans to golf. It is Tiger who produces the television ratings and the big purses. Every golfer on Tour should send Tiger a royalty check at the end of the season - fund a private bathroom-on-wheels.

Happily for golf fans of New England, this is Tiger’s tourney. He won it in 2006 and tied for second in 2004 and 2007. Last year he was on the shelf after knee surgery, but he has had a partnership with the Deutsche Bank Championship since the tourney’s inception, with event funds directed to the Tiger Woods Foundation.

“I’ve always liked this area,’’ Tiger said Thursday. “I’ve played well here, and the people are thoroughly enthusiastic about the sport.’’

There was plenty of enthusiasm everywhere he went yesterday, but his shot-making was not up to Tiger standards.

“I really didn’t do much of anything positively today,’’ he said. “I didn’t feel good over any shot today and didn’t drive it very good, hit my irons worse, and didn’t make any putts. Other than that it was a good day.

“Most of the putts I hit today, if anything they were lacking pace. They were kind of rolling by about 6 inches past the hole, maybe a foot. I just wasn’t carrying enough pace to the hole.’’

It wasn’t the greens. Woods played alongside first-day leader Stricker, who shot an 8-under 63 and looked like he was putting into an oil drum.

It was poor putting that cost Tiger the PGA a couple of weeks ago, and a blown 6-footer on 18 last Sunday cost him a playoff with Slocum at The Barclays.

But it wasn’t just the short game that bothered Woods at TPC Boston.

“I felt terrible over any tee shot,’’ he said. “Didn’t matter what club it was, whether it was an iron on a par 3 or a drive or any hole. I didn’t feel great over any shot. It was one of those days.’’

Tiger’s frustration boiled over after an errant drive on the fifth hole, his 14th hole of the day. He chucked his driver into the tall grass and it took awhile to find the club. Something your boss or brother-in-law would do. These kind of demonstrations have marked Tiger’s major-less season.

What about it, Eldrick? Was that frustration we saw after the drive on 5?

“How about every hole?’’ he answered.

“It’s a four-day tournament,’’ he said. “If you have a bad day, the whole idea is just to mitigate the mistakes and keep yourself in the ballgame. Today is a day I certainly could have shot over par, but I kept it under par, so that’s a good sign.’’

Fair warning. You know he’s got something red in his closet, ready for Monday.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.