A promising 2-under-par start to Tiger Woods’ first round turned sour with seven bogeys the rest of the way, and the 15-time major winner carded a 4-over 74 on Thursday at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Woods is competing in his second tournament since a gruesome single-car accident 15 months ago left him with multiple right leg fractures. He placed 47th at the Masters last month in his return to competitive golf.
“I hit a lot of bad iron shots in the middle part of the round and late in the round,” Woods said on the ESPN broadcast. “Consequently, I just never got the ball close for any birdie putts. … I just put myself in bad spots.”
Woods began his day on the back nine playing in a group with Jordan Spieth and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
He hit his approach at the par-4 10th hole to 3 feet to set up an easy birdie. He added a 13-foot birdie at the par-3 14th, but made his first bogey of the day at the following hole.
Woods made the turn at even-par 35 but struggled on his second nine. He recorded three straight bogeys at Nos. 18, 1 and 2 and made just one more birdie the rest of the day, the par-4 third, when his approach landed inside 5 feet of the cup.
On several occasions, Woods hit 2-iron stingers off the tee rather than use his driver. He favored his right leg late in the round and his condition seemed to slow him down.
“It has felt better before,” Woods said of his leg. “It’s a little sore right now and we’ll go back and start the process of getting ready for tomorrow.”
Woods was asked if he knew the television cameras caught him wincing. “My leg is not feeling as good as I’d like it to be,” he answered.
At the par-4 ninth, his closing hole, Woods hit his approach well over the green. His third shot did not make it out of the rough, leading to one last bogey.
Woods won the PGA Championship the last time it was held at Southern Hills, in 2007. After surprising the golf world by playing this year’s Masters and making the cut, he said in the lead-up to this week that he felt his leg was getting stronger.
McIlroy shot a 5-under 65 to take the early lead.