Tiger Woods Opens PGA at 1-Over 72

Photo of Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods admits he’s not as sharp as most of the PGA Championship field but still holds high expectations for himself. Woods began the 106th PGA Championship with a 1-over 72, having a mixed performance in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite battling errant tee shots, he stayed close to par for much of his opening round at Valhalla Golf Club.

He found his stride midway through his second nine, dipping into red numbers before ending with back-to-back three-putt bogeys, likely leaving him frustrated. Woods is now 10 strokes behind Xander Schauffele, who set a PGA Championship single-round record with a 9-under 62.

This round was similar to his opening round at last month’s Masters (1-over 73), marked by ups and downs but finishing near the projected cut line. Woods followed that with a second-round 72 at the Masters, making the cut and setting a record for his 24th consecutive cut made.

On Friday, he’ll aim to make the weekend for the second consecutive major, hoping for a stronger start than Thursday, where he managed to get through the first three holes at just 1 over before finding his rhythm.

“It probably took me about three holes to find my competitive rhythm and adjust to tournament conditions—adrenaline, temperatures, and green speeds,” Woods said after his opening round. “Normally, I adapt quickly, but it took a few holes today. “I am definitely getting stronger… Each day is different. Some days are better than others. That’s just how my body works. Sometimes it feels great, and other times, it’s a bit of a struggle.”

Woods’ legacy is prominent at Valhalla, where his 2000 PGA Championship win (defeating Bob May in a three-hole playoff) was part of his “Tiger Slam,” completed at the 2001 Masters. He dominated the 2000 U.S. Open and The Open by a combined 23 strokes before facing a tough challenge from May at Valhalla. Winning another Wanamaker Trophy this weekend might be a tall order, but making the cut for a second consecutive major is within reach.

“I think I’ve made a few cuts in a row, something like 140,” Woods said Thursday. “You have to grind it out. Major championships are long grinds, not sprints. It’s about staying consistent. “You can’t win if you don’t make the cut. The goal is to reach the weekend to have a chance. I’ve won from the cut line and from the lead. But you need to get to the weekend first.”

After hitting the fairway off the tee at the dogleg-right, 411-yard par 4, he left himself 144 yards to the hole but played a subpar approach to 34 feet, leaving his birdie putt 6 feet short and failing to save par. He ends with a 1-over 72, 10 strokes behind early leader Xander Schauffele, who set a PGA Championship single-round record with a 9-under 62.

1:10 p.m.: Woods hits the front-left portion of the 169-yard, par-3 eighth, but his birdie putt runs past the hole, leaving a 10-foot par attempt that he can’t convert. After reaching red numbers on the previous hole, he’s back to level par. One hole remains.

12:55 p.m.: After a solid two-putt par from 54 feet at the tough par-4 sixth, Woods handles the double-fairway, par-5 seventh well. He hits the left fairway off the tee, lands a 238-yard second shot into the right greenside bunker, and gets up-and-down with a 13-foot birdie putt.

For the first time today, Woods is under par, showing resilience after a shaky start. His body seems to be holding up well. He’s 1 under with two holes left, eight strokes behind leader Xander Schauffele but tied for 17th, comfortably inside the projected cut line.


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