- Can Tiger Woods pick up where he left off at Augusta? Follow along with Tiger's first round at the 2019 PGA Championship.
BETHPAGE, N.Y. — Tiger Woods began the PGA Championship with an roller coaster round of two-over 72, a balky putter preventing him from finishing any closer than nine shots behind playing partner and leader Brooks Koepka when he walked off the course.
Hole 9, par 4 - Par, +2 round of 72
Tiger found the fairway on the dogleg-left 9th, and hit a solid approach that landed on the back edge of the green. The birdie effort was short the whole way, and he tapped in for a closing par and a two-over 72. He is now nine back of Brooks Koepka, who birdied his final hole of the day to shoot 63...right in front of Woods.
Hole 8, par 3 - Bogey, +2 overall
One of the worst putting rounds Tiger has had in quite a while. He hit a solid long-iron into the difficult par-3 8th hole, finishing in the fringe just off the right side of the green. The chip was a bit frisky and ran out to 8 feet, and yet again he couldn't convert. That's another bogey, his fourth miss from under nine feet today, and all the sudden he's all the way back to +2.
Hole 7, par 4 - Bogey, +1 overall
Yet another three putt, and yet another missed putt from the five-foot range. Tiger hit a solid drive in the fairway and tugged his approach to the very left edge of the green, leaving a full 55 feet downhill. He was a bit timid with that one, leaving it about six feet short, and made a poor stroke on the par effort—sort of fanned it, missing it to the right. Another three putt, and that's his third miss from under eight feet today. Back to the wrong side of par.
Hole 6, par 4 - Par, E overall
Tiger went with an iron on the only par 4 measuring under 400 yards, but he tugged it and missed the fairway left. Unforced error there, but he was fortunate to find a clean lie in a fairway bunker rather than the thatchy rough. He was able to hit a mid-iron into the green from there and two-putted without incident for a par.
Hole 5, par 4 - Bogey, E overall
He gives up some of the momentum from the eagle with a three-putt bogey. He hit the fairway with his signature fade, setting up a solid look at the elevated green from 193 yards. He pulled the approach a bit, but it safely found the green, about 40 feet above the hole. He was a bit aggressive with the downhill, left-to-right putt and ran it about four feet by...then he lipped out the par putt. That's the second shortie he's missed (a short bogey putt on 1 wouldn't fall either) and he's back to even par, right where he started.
Meanwhile, Koepka has a three-shot lead as he's -6 through 14. A major record-tying 62 is absolutely in play.
Hole 4, par 5 - Eagle, -1 overall
Wow- here we go! Two perfect shots—a drive down the center and a long iron right into the middle of the green—left a downhill, 25-footer for eagle. He curled the right-to-left effort in with authority, and incredibly, he's under par for the round. What a response to the two double bogeys. He is full of bounce now, having played his last four holes in -4.
Hole 3, par 3 - Par, +1 overall
A beautiful 4-iron right at the flag finished about 12 feet left of it, leaving a very good look for his third birdie in a row. The birdie effort missed on the low side, though, leaving a tap-in par. Still a very solid 3 on this hole, and he heads to a par 5 next.
Hole 2, par 4 - Birdie, +1 overall
Bethpage Black has a bit of a "handshake" start, meaning there are a few gettable holes to get the player into the round before things turn nasty. The first and second holes are both birdie opportunities, and Tiger took advantage of both when he needed it most. Right down the center with the tee shot and then a wedge rom 110 yards that took another fortunate bounce to kick-in range, and that's two in a row. Great bounce back after another double. He now has two doubles, three birdies and no bogeys.
Hole 1, par 4 - Birdie, +2 overall
Well, he has two birdies and no bogeys...but he does have two double bogeys, so there's that. He hit a foul ball right off the famous first tee at Bethpage—not sure if you heard, but there's a warning sign on the first hole saying only highly skilled players should tee it up on the Black—and found some thick rough down the right side. But he was lucky to have an unimpeded look at the hole and just a wedge in his hand, and he hacked out a shot that got a really fortunate kick and ended up about 15 feet from the hole. After seeing Molinari putt on the same line, Tiger poured it in the middle for a bounce-back birdie.
Side note: he already trails Brooks Koepka, who leads at -4, by six shots.
Hole 18, par 4 - Par, +3 overall
3-wood right down the center left just a wedge into the 18th, which is actually one of the easier holes at Bethpage. It was a solid effort that flew right over the flag, leaving an 18 footer down the hill. A poor birdie putt never had a chance, both left of the hole the whole way and carrying too much speed. Missed birdie opportunity there and he makes the turn in three-over 38.
Hole 17, par 3 - Double bogey, +3 overall
Yikes. Tiger went with 6-iron on the 199-yard uphill par 3 and hit a shot that was right at the flag but a solid eight yards short. He got quite unlucky as it plugged in the face of the front bunker, and he hacked it out to the back of the green...then three-putted from there. Just ran the first one way too far by. That's another disastrous double to drop Tiger to +3, currently in 58th out of 78 players on the course.
Hole 16, par 4 - Par, +1 overall
Tiger's drive didn't cut like he expected, so it finished in the left rough. And even though he only had about 170 yards into the green, he hacked it out to about 140 yards short. That's how penal the rough is. He hit a delightful pitch from there, a one hop-check-roll out-type that had a chance to go in before trickling to about five feet. Right in the middle with the par effort.
Hole 15, par 4 - Birdie, +1 overall
That is a fantastic birdie on a beastly, beastly, uphill, 489-yard par 4. Two beautiful shots—he's hit the driver very well early on—set up a 15-footer for birdie. He poured the left-to-right putt right in the center and gets back to +1, pretty impressive given his disastrous opening hole. Perhaps that'll spark some momentum.
Hole 14, par 3 - Par, +2 overall
Four straight pars now, another one of the two-putt variety here. The 14th plays only 161 yards, giving players the rare look at a pin with a short iron in their hands. Tiger spent some time before the tee shot judging the wind, and hit hit an iron that was right at it but landed about 10 yards short. He ran the birdie effort about four feet by but cleaned it up without incident.
Hole 13, par 5 - Par, +2 overall
Two wedges so far, both from about 85 yards, both absolutely atrocious efforts, both airmailed the green. Tiger played the 13th textbook with his first two shots, finding the fairway with the driver and laying up to 85 yards. Then he pumped yet another wedge right over the green, finding some thickish rough over the green. He came up with a great chip from there to save par, but those are two absolutely shocking shots for a player of Woods' caliber. Perhaps he's not used to tournament adrenaline, having not played in five weeks, and maybe that explains the drastic misjudgings of distance.
Hole 12, par 4 - Par, +2 overall
He's settled down nicely after that double at 1. Driver here up the middle, then a solid long-iron from 217 to the front-left portion of the green. That left a 30 footer over a ridge and it was judged beautifully, sliding by the front side of the hole and leaving another tap-in. That's a very solid par on a par 4 that's playing more than 500 yards.
Hole 11, par 4 - Par, +2 overall
A routine par after that disastrous start: a 3-wood right down the center left just a wedge into the 411-yard hole, one of the shortest two-shotters at Bethpage. He went conservative, playing to the fat part of the green, leaving about 40 feet to the hole. The putt looked good the whole way but slid by on the right, leaving a tap-in par.
Hole 10, par 4 - Double bogey, +2 overall
Tiger's tee shot on the 484-yard par 4 just barely missed the fairway to the right, maybe four yards from the short grass, but that was enough to prompt a layup. Yes, a layup on a par 4. That's a preview of what's to come this week—if you don't hit the fairway on these beastly par 4s, you're going to have to layup. The problem is his third shot, a flip wedge, flew the green, landing a solid 20 yards too far. He was unable to get up-and-down from there and opens his championship with an ominous double-bogey. Yikes.