FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – After a rocky start Thursday in the opening round of the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods gave the massive crowds following his group at Bethpage Black something to cheer about by showing the form that carried him to last month’s historic victory at the Masters.
But after getting into red numbers when he sank a 30-foot putt for eagle at his 13th hole, Woods faded down the stretch with three bogeys and found himself trailing playing partner Brooks Koepka by nine shots following his round of 72.
Woods made double bogey at the 10th hole, his first of the day, and double bogeyed the par-3 17th after hitting his tee ball that resulted in a bad lie on the slope of the right bunker. He turned in 3-over par, but rallied on the start of his second nine with birdies at the first and second and the eagle at the par-5 fourth.
“I felt like I was getting back into the round,” he said. “I fought my way back and I had two double bogeys in through there and was still able to get it to under par for the day. Unfortunately I had a couple 3-putts there and hit a bad chip there at 8 and left myself in a bad spot.”
The 3-putts, at the fifth and seventh holes, came after he missed putts in the 4- to 5-foot range for par. At the par-3 eighth, his chip sped 8 feet past the hole and his par putt slid by on the left.
“I didn’t take advantage of my opportunities there,” he said. “I thought I hit a good drive at 10, and I had no lie (in the rough). On 17, I hit it up against the face and it plugs, and we get down there and there’s no sand. It was just bizarre. But I fought my way back around there, and unfortunately I just didn’t keep it together at the end.”
Woods, who said he stayed home Wednesday instead of practicing because he wasn’t feeling well, is seeking his 16th career major title this weekend. He also has a chance to tie Sam Snead’s record of 82 all-time victories on the PGA Tour.
But it will take a monumental comeback for him to have a chance.