PGA Championship: Woods struggles to 74; Westwood, Chappell lead PGA
Louisville, Ky. • Maybe Tiger Woods should have stayed at home.
Looking much like a guy who could barely bend over last weekend, Woods sprayed shots all over Valhalla and faced a daunting deficit at the PGA Championship before heavy favorite Rory McIlroy even teed off Thursday.
"That wasn’t very good," said Woods, who made only one birdie — and had to hole out from the fairway to do that — on the way to a 3-over 74. "A lot of bad shots."
One landed in a creek. Another sent the gallery scrambling. Yet another rolled into a fenced-off area where fans can use cellphones, a good 30 yards right of the fairway.
Too bad Woods couldn’t call for help.
"I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. I didn’t get a putt to the hole," he said. "That’s not a good combo."
Lee Westwood, shooting his best score ever at the PGA Championship, and little-known Kevin Chappell both posted 65s to leave Woods nine shots off the lead. Jim Furyk and Edoardo Molinari were one stroke back after shooting 66.
Woods’ main objective Friday will be making the cut, though he insisted he still has a chance to capture his 15th major title.
"I just don’t see, on this golf course, guys going super low here," he said, apparently not having seen the scoreboard. "I’ve got to get to under par by the end of tomorrow. ... If I can get under par for two rounds, that’s going to be right in the ballgame."
McIlroy, coming off wins at the British Open and at Firestone, teed off shortly after Woods finished up.
Woods didn’t arrive at Valhalla until Wednesday, having been in Florida undergoing treatment for a back injury that forced him to withdraw at Firestone on Sunday. He struggled to pick up his tee or change his shoes, but insisted that he was fit by the time he got to Kentucky.
"It’s a little bit stiff," he said of his back, "but that’s about it."
Still, Woods was playing just his 11th competitive round since undergoing back surgery March 31. The rustiness showed as he grappled with his swing and never figured out the speed of the greens.
Woods had to sit out the first two majors of the year and posted his worst 72-hole finish in a major at the British Open.
Looks like more of the same at the PGA.
"My swing was dialed in on the range," Woods said. "Unfortunately, I just didn’t carry it to the golf course."