The Irish Open has already received one major boost after sponsors Dubai Duty Free committed to a four-year extension of its sponsorship deal with an agreement running through to 2022.
At the top of the leaderboard after Round 1, there is a six-way tie among Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Chesson Hadley, Webb Simpson, and Alex Noren, all of whom shot a six-under-par 66. Defending champion Kim Si-woo, of South Korea, was among a group one stroke behind on a morning of low scoring, but not all of the big names thrived.
The American, 42, finished tied for 32nd at the Masters in April, his first appearance at a major since 2015.
Maybe if Woods hadn't nearly won the Valspar Championship two months ago, the expectations for him might have been more reasonable.
Once again, he was playing Wilson Staff irons that gave him a distinct edge over the field in the blustery conditions on the famous links course back then. "The records are just bonuses to good play". "I figured I was probably close", he said.
"I didn't know what to expect this year", Woods said.
Three-time British Open victor Tiger Woods is to play in the 2018 championship for the 20th time but first since 2015, tournament organisers have announced.
Woods, a 14-time major champion, and Mickelson, a five-time major victor, are paired along with fellow American Rickie Fowler in the opening two rounds of this week's event at TPC Sawgrass.
According to the Golf Channel broadcast, it was Woods' first-ever eagle on the par-5 ninth hole at TPC Sawgrass.
Mickelson, Woods and Fowler all cracked up laughing, and Phil had to back off his putt multiple times because he just could not stop giggling.
The crowd provided little to no juice but didn't have much to cheer about, save for a Woods birdie at 16 and a back-nine stretch of three birdies in four holes from Fowler.
The 2007 victor at TPC moved to even par following birdies on holes Nos.
Woods looked at odds with his swing early on and had to scramble hard to save par at the first two holes, but he missed from five feet at the third and another poor drive at the fifth also led to bogey.
"Boy, it was nice to turn the round completely around there", he added. "They were into it early".
Schwartzel said he was getting the club too far behind, and he could never get it back on line.
"I just kind of ran out at the end", he said.
The quality of the golf did little to keep fans awake.