Fans egged him on to hit sensational shots as if this was 19 years ago, when he won by a record 15 strokes for the first of his three U.S. Open titles.
Thursday was all about satisfactory results, not sensational ones. His irons were not as "crisp" as he wanted, and, as a result, his approach shots hit only half the greens.
So how did he still finish under par?
"Because I missed the ball in correct spots," Woods said. "I made a couple putts, but the majority were uphill.
"That's the key to playing this golf course. You can't be past the flag," Woods added. "If I happened to miss, I took my medicine, moved on and went about my business."
Woods nearly chipped in several times, nearly holed a couple bunker shots. He teased the crowd and prime-time viewers enough to merit more curiosity going forth.
"It's just hanging in there, a typical U.S. Open," Woods, 43, said as he plays his 21st U.S. Open. "The first seven holes (at Pebble), you can get it going."
His only birdies came in that stretch, on Nos. 4, 6 and 7, and they helped take the sting off a double bogey on the par-3 fifth hole in which he hooked an uncomfortable 6-iron off the tee.
As for the other holes?
"Some of these pins were a little bit on the tricky side," Woods said. "They were hard to get back there and close to. Rosie proved it today, hanging in there and fighting it off.