JOHNS CREEK, GA.—Tiger Woods said that, after going 3 under par through his first five holes, he rejected his new fundamentals and played on “feel.” In the end, all he felt was anger.
Woods shot 7-over par 77 in the PGA Championship, his worst first round ever in a major championship, after having a start that was good enough to make his fans believe he would be in contention. As it stands, he will have to scramble to make the cut on Friday.
He was asked if he was dejected by the turnaround and his finish—when he was done, he was 14 strokes behind the leade—Woods said, “I’m not down. I’m really angry right now,” he said. “There are a lot of other words I could use.”
The anger was directed at himself for abandoning the emphasis on his new swing. “It’s frustrating because my shots don’t shape like they used to. I don’t shape the ball as much. I went ahead and played by feel,” he said. “It cost me the whole round.”
His round began to unravel on the brutal 265-yard par-3 15th hole, which was his sixth of the day because he started on No. 10. By then, he had made three birdies and was 3 under because, he said, he was thinking of the mechanics of the new swing that he and instructor Sean Foley have been working on.
A 4-iron shot that was meant to land on the front of the green instead found the big water hazard. He pitched short and two putted for a double-bogey 5. He bogeyed the 16th, after having been in two bunkers, and double-bogeyed 18 after having been in two bunkers. So the golfer who had been 3 under made the turn at 2 over.
Things got no better for him on his second nine. He made double bogey 6 on No. 6, hitting out of a bunker into another water hazard. Woods finished with a bogey on No. 9, again having been in a fairway bunker and a greenside bunker.
Davis Love III, who played with Woods and shot 2 under, said, “If you don’t hit the fairways, this golf course is hard.”
Woods is in danger of being finished for the season. He is currently 129th on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup list and needs to get into the top 125 to make the playoffs, starting with the Barclays in New Jersey two weeks from now. He will not play in a tour event next week, he said, because of family commitments, so he needs to move up four places this week—something he can’t do if he misses the cut.