Tiger Woods had a tale of two nines on Thursday, going out at the PGA Championship like he was picking up where he left off after the Bridgestone Invitational and coming in like a man that hasn't won a major in over five years.
Woods posted a round of 1-over 71 thanks to a closing double-bogey on his final hole, the par-4 9th, erasing the potential for a solid round with a poor second shot into the final green and a third shot that was in such deep rough there was virtually no chance for Woods to get the ball on the green. That shot ended up in a tough stance in the bunker, and Tiger took three strokes to get it in the hole from there.
His 71 leaves him six shots back of clubhouse leader Jim Furyk, who made a bogey on his final hole but was still able to post a round of 5-under 65.
Thursday turned out to be one of those rounds by Tiger that looked like it was going to be a coast. An opening nine 33 was tight and solid, with two birdies and no bogeys, an outward nine that looked like a man that had plotted out every shot and every hole, attacking the ones he wanted and playing conservative on the others.
His second nine looked like it would be the same, but a missed birdie putt from four feet on No. 2 and another short putt missed on the fourth for par had Woods going the other direction. Then came his final hole that took his round from a score in red figures that would suffice for the first day to a round he will be disappointed with at the final major of 2013.
The problem with Tiger's opening to this PGA Championship isn't so much his score as it is his inability to take advantage of probably the best scoring day the players will see all week at Oak Hill.
One reason Tiger was only able to card two birdies on such a good scoring day was his game plan to avoid the driver like he has in so many recent majors. Woods hit just one driver all day, which led to a bogey, and his timing was off just enough to leave him lengthy second shots into a lot of the par-4s when he did hit long irons off the tee.
Now comes the tough part for Tiger at major championships. Woods will be playing from behind considering what Jim Furyk was able to do on Thursday. A Friday start like he had on Thursday would be nice for Woods, but he will have to actually finish his round if he wants to be in the hunt come Saturday and Sunday.
Golf video from Yahoo! Sports:
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Rory McIlroy's Champions Dinner menu a taste of home
• Scary moment when autograph seekers surge toward Tiger Woods
• Eighteen isn't only number Tiger Woods is chasing
• And the PGA Championship winner is ...