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Friday July 19, 2024

Woods struggles to find rhythm at Valhalla

By Reuters
May 18, 2024
Tiger Woods started his day with a drive down the 10th fairway during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. — USA Today Sports
Tiger Woods started his day with a drive down the 10th fairway during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. — USA Today Sports

LOUISVILLE: Tiger Woods struggled to shake off the rust in his PGA Championship opening round on Thursday, carding a disappointing one over par 72 in Louisville, Kentucky, as he fought to find his competitive rhythm.

The 15-times major winner belongs in the pantheon of greats but found little comfort at Valhalla Golf Course, where he struggled early after starting on the back nine. “It took me probably three holes to get back into competitive flow again and get a feel for hitting the ball out there in competition, adrenaline, temperatures, green speeds,” said Woods, who has not played since the Masters.

“These are all things that normally I adjust to very quickly, and it just took me a few holes to get into it.” Woods missed a good chance for a birdie on the 10th and landed in the bunker to settle for a bogey on the par-three 11th.

A solid putt helped him to a birdie on the par-four 13th but he bogeyed again on the 15th. He had birdies on the third and seventh but ended the day with a pair of bogeys on the final two holes after flubbed putts. “I three-whipped the last two holes. Wasn’t very good,” he told reporters. “Bad speed on eight; whipped it past the hole. And nine, hit it short. Hit it off the heel of the putt and blocked the second one. So wasn’t very good on the last two holes.”

The former world number one has kept a limited competition schedule after a horrific 2021 car crash and previously said he expected to play only one event per month this year. While the lighter agenda has preserved his body, it has taken a toll in other ways. “I am getting stronger for sure. It’s just that I just don’t play a whole lot of competitive rounds,” he told reporters. “It’s a little bit different than being at home and playing a flat Florida course.”