Tiger Woods Cards a 76 at Torrey Pines in Tour Return

He added: “You can’t break down everything he did today, because it’s been 17 months. Let him play and go from there. You can’t panic too much at the start of the year.”

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Top-ranked Jason Day, left, who shot a 73, and Woods, who stumbled to a 39 on the back nine.

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Donald Miralle/Getty Images

A flock of fans followed Woods’s group from hole to hole. The crowd included the retired N.B.A. journeyman Tracy Murray, whose 6-foot-7 height allowed him to track the flight of Woods’s shots better than most. Murray, a native of Los Angeles who is a radio color analyst for men’s basketball at U.C.L.A., his alma mater, worked the Bruins’ game against their crosstown rival Southern California on Wednesday night. Early Thursday, he made the two-hour drive, arriving in time to watch Woods’s front nine.

“I’m a supporter, a fan,” Murray said. “He’s means so much to the game. It’s good for the rest of the field to have him out here.”

The excitement at the course, which rippled through Woods’s gallery at the start…

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