Poor putting undermines Tiger's opening round

Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:15pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Near-perfect greens and an advantageous tee time did not help Tiger Woods' cause at the PGA Championship on Thursday as the former world number one struggled to a three-over-par 75 in the opening round.

Having missed the cut in his last two majors, Woods left himself nine strokes off the early lead and with plenty of work to do at Whistling Straits on Friday if he is to avoid missing a third in a row for the first time in his career.

More than once, the 14-times major champion cursed his misfortune on the beautifully manicured greens as he totaled 33 putts, despite benefiting from an early time in calm conditions before winds picked up later in the day.

"Well, I hit it great today, but I made actually nothing," the 39-year-old said after carding five bogeys and two birdies on a morning when 25 players dipped below par.

"Probably one of the worst putting rounds I've had in a very long time. I just had no feel at all for the speed. It was awful.

"I kept with the game plan, I struck it the way I wanted to pretty much all day. I just never got a putt."

Still working through the latest swing change of his career after recovering from back surgery, Woods has endured a dismal 2015 campaign featuring three missed cuts, a withdrawal and just two top-25 finishes in nine starts.

His PGA Tour season looks to be all but over, as he can only qualify for the lucrative FedExCup playoffs if he finishes no worse than outright second at the PGA Championship.   Continued...

Aug 13, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits.  Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports