PGA Championship: Tiger Woods Falters Late and Scores A 1-Over 72 Score

Tiger Woods had a strong start to his attempt to stay for the weekend at Valhalla Golf Club as he was 1 under after 16 holes of his opening round at the PGA Championship on Thursday.

However, Woods, the four-time winner of the PGA Championship, finished with a dismal 1-over 72 after making bogeys on his final two holes with three-putts.

After the first round, Woods was tied for 85th place, 10 strokes behind the leader Xander Schauffele, who shot a 9-under 62 to tie the record for the second-lowest score in a major title in his career.

Woods claimed to have “three-whipped” the par-3 eighth and par-4 ninth holes, his final two holes. His tee shot on the eighth hole was pulled, and the ball came to rest 39 feet to the left of the hole. His first putt went around ten feet beyond the cup, but his second one stayed low. He was brought back to even par with a bogey.

Woods hit his drive to the left side of the fairway on the ninth hole. He nailed his approach shot to 34 feet with 144 yards remaining to the hole. From there, too, he three-putted.

“Wasn’t very good,” remarked Woods, who hadn’t participated in a competition since the Masters final round on April 14. “Bad speed on eight; whipped it past the hole. And nine, hit it short. Hit it off the heel of the putt and blocked the second one. So [it] wasn’t very good on the last two holes.”

One of the highlights of Woods’ round, an eagle on the par-5 seventh, preceded the poor end. He chipped out to 13 ½ feet and holed the birdie putt to move to 1 under after his approach shot over water landed in a greenside bunker.

Beginning his round on hole number 10, Woods turned in a 1-over 37 score. On holes 11 and 15, he made bogeys, but on hole 13, he made an 18-foot birdie putt.

The 15-time major champion had to punch out when his tee ball ended up in the thick rough on the par-4 12th, but he made a fantastic par saving. He saved par with a 15-footer. On the fifteenth, he had to punch out of the rough as well.

Throughout the round, Woods hit 13 of 18 greens and nine of 14 fairways.

“The rough is dense,” stated Woods. “It’s just very dense. With the rain we got and just the moisture on it, I know they’ve topped it off, but it’s just really lush. You can get lies where it sits up, you can get a 3-wood on it. A couple times, I had to pitch out sideways. You don’t have to worry about that if you drive it in the fairway, and I just need to do a better job of that.”

Of course, if Woods makes the cut, his task is to produce four strong rounds. Woods has played 72 holes in two majors since he resumed competitive golf in February 2021 after being involved in an automobile accident. He finished 47th at the 2022 Masters and 60th at the Masters in April.

“I am getting stronger for sure,”  Woods stated. “It’s just that I just don’t play a whole lot of competitive rounds. I haven’t played since the Masters. So it’s a little bit different than being at home and playing a flat Florida course.”

Woods, 48, claimed that on Thursday, it took him a few holes to get his adrenaline flowing.

According to Woods, “Each day is a little bit different,” “Some days, it’s better than others. It’s just the way it is. My body is just that way. Some days, it feels great, and other days, a bit of a struggle.”

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