Tiger Woods lamented a poor day with his irons after overcoming pain to shoot a 74 in the first round of the PGA Championship.
Woods’ participation at Southern Hills is his first since making a spectacular comeback at The Masters last month, and only his second since a career-threatening car accident in February, with the 15-time major champion getting off to a dream start with two birdies in his first five holes.
With a bad tee shot and a lost shot at the 15th, Woods’ round swiftly unravelled, with his pained look visible as he struggled to three successive bogeys around the turn.
Woods followed a birdie at the third with a lost shot at the fourth, and he concluded an inconsistent first day with consecutive bogeys, confessing to leg discomfort after falling nine strokes behind clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy.
“I hit a lot of bad iron shots, put myself in a lot of bad spots, and never really gave myself any birdie putts. I actually felt comfortable with the driver, I hit a lot of fairways with it, but from there it wasn’t very good.
“Most of my bunker shots I hit were long, came out hotter than I thought, but predominately I just hit bad iron shots. That’s not normally how I play, but today unfortunately that’s kind of what it was.”
Woods faces an uphill challenge to replicate his Augusta National cut from last month when he started with a 71 but faltered over the weekend, shooting back-to-back rounds of 78.
The former world No. 1 was in the morning headline three-ball with Jordan Spieth, who started his quest for a career Grand Slam with a disappointing opening-round 72, and Rory McIlroy, who shot a 65 with seven birdies and two bogeys to set the clubhouse target at five-under-par.
“Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory [McIlroy] proved that today,” Woods told Sky Sports. “He made it look very easy. He had a couple of shots where he slipped away and he still shot five-under and made it look very easy.