Making his Tour return two months after his latest knee surgery, Woods rallied from bogies on his opening three holes to reel off nine birdies at the par-70 Narashino Country Club.

Woods, the US team captain, must decide whether to play himself as a captain's pick against the International team in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in December and all indications are that he will.


Woods was followed by a huge gallery of Japanese fans getting their first chance to see the 43-year-old play in the Tokyo area and he did not let them down with a performance that conjured up images of the halcyon days when he strutted the fairways with an aura of invincibility.

Organisers said there were more than 20,000 fans in attendance on the opening day.

The three-man Australian contingent struggled in the elite 78-man field.

Jason Day was the best of them with a 73, fellow former World No.1 Adam Scott had a 74 and Marc Leishman was six over after 14 holes.

Heavy rain from a storm over the Pacific Ocean is expected on Friday.