SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Tiger Woods took two steps off the sixth green before deciding that he and his putter were no longer friends.
As he approached his bag, Woods shove-tossed his club toward the ground in retaliation for the bogey he'd just been saddled with.
"[Bleep] it!" he said. "[Bleep] it!"
Though the story of Woods' opening round at the PGA Championship was told over four frustratng hours of missed putts (and the grimaces that followed), Woods' body language following that blow up said it all. He put his hands on his hips, looked down toward the ground and seethed as playing partners Martin Kaymer and Keegan Bradley finished the hole.
"One of the worst putting rounds I've had in a long time," Woods said after posting a three-over 75 at Whistling Straits on Thursday.
Woods said he never had a feel for the speed of the greens, but one didn't need his confirmation to know that was the case. After starting out with his group on the back nine, Woods hit his first seven greens in regulation, but only had one birdie and one bogey to show for it. After making a bogey on No. 18, Woods made the turn. Though the sun came out on the windy Wisconsin track, Woods' putting touch didn't, recording three more bogeys to one birdie. He finished the day with 33 total putts and a putts per GIR of 1.917.
"Even if I dumped the ball in the center of the green or I had some makeable putts straight up the gut, they were still off," Woods said. "They were either getting chewed up by the green or I was blowing them through. I definitely need to somehow find the speed better."
Woods vowed to head to the putting green to diagnose his problem before Friday's second round. If he doesn't, he's facing a major season of missing the cuts at the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship after finishing tied for the 17th at The Masters.
Woods didn't miss a total of three major cuts in his professional career until 2011, but that of course was a different time when he wasn't coming off major back surgery and didn't play so horribly in opening rounds. The 39-year-old has gone 73-80-76-75 in the opening rounds of the 2015 majors, effectively taking himself out of contention before it ever started.
The lack of scoring as plenty of other golfers took advantage of nice morning conditions didn't affect the number of fans that followed Woods and his grouping. The galleries were full as Woods played reasonably well off the tees, but struggled when it came time to draw the type of cheers that Dustin Johnson and Jason Day were drawing a hole ahead.
As a result, the mood of the quiet crowd took its cues from Woods' body language.
After being caught on TV cursing a par putt that he pushed left, Woods walked to the fourth tee, hit his bag and dropped an f-bomb. His ensuing drive went left and he greeted the discovery of it lying in the rough by throwing his towel in disgust. A bogey on No. 4 soured his mood so much that not even a nice birdie putt on No. 5 could elicit much of a reaction.
Woods later lamented the fact he had played the sort of game that many fans at home can relate to: one aspect of his game was on, but it didn't matter much because another was so off.
"I've had good putting rounds [this season] and I had bad ball striking days on those days and then I've had the flip side of it," Woods said. "So just got to get a combo right and then have it for three more days."
With Woods' chances at making the FedEx Cup field looking remote, Friday could be the last the golf world sees of Tiger this season. He'll need to play and do well in next weekend's Wyndham Championship to make the FedEx field of the top 125 golfers but he still hasn't committed to the event (the deadline is Friday).
"The season is pretty much over very soon. ... It is what it is," Woods said in a statement that probably wasn't met with much enthusiasm from the Wyndham officials.
Then again, fans at the Wyndham might be fortunate to miss out on the average golf that Woods is playing these days rather than follow him out of a sense of nostalgia like the fans at Whistling did.
As Woods lined up a birdie putt on the second-to-last hole of the day, a big crowd watched as a camera drone noisily whirred over head. The putt, of course, missed and Woods turned up his palms and looked toward the sky in a "what else?" gesture.
"I just never got a putt," Woods said. "I don't think I made one put all day."