'Frustrating day': Tiger Woods starts hot, chills to icy at PGA Championship

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There was a moment, a brief moment, when Tiger Woods was one stroke off the lead in a major in 2022. It didn't last.

Through his first five holes Thursday morning in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Woods was 2-under par and looking strong and confident, not at all like he was still recovering from a February 2021 car wreck. Then the drives started drifting, the approaches started fluttering and the putts stopped falling, and Woods plummeted down the leaderboard to end the day at +4 in Tulsa.

"I did not hit a lot of good iron shots. I drove it well, but my iron shots were not very good," Woods conceded afterward. "I got off to a great start and didn't keep it going. I really didn't give myself any looks for birdie ... It was a frustrating day."

Playing before galleries that ran 20 deep and alongside Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, Woods set up a strategy of point-to-point golf that involved heavy use of his stinger and, in theory, precision approaches leading to short birdie looks. It didn't work out that way; he often found himself trying to get up and down or putting from half a green away just to save par. He also couldn't get a feel for the gritty sand, and that cost him on multiple holes.

"All the bunker shots sort of came out hot. The sand is a lot faster than I thought it would be," he said. "I feel like sometimes the sand, I [was] guessing, and I guessed wrong."

By the end of the round, Woods was uncomfortable, not placing the same degree of weight on his right leg. He didn't give many specifics after the round, but acknowledged that he was having trouble doing ... well, everything.

"Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, and walking hurts, and twisting hurts," he said. "It's just golf. I don't play that, if I don't do that, then I'm all right."

Woods is past the point of "happy to be here." He said prior to the tournament that he "definitely" thought he could win, and while that was some characteristic Woods overconfidence, he didn't play like he expected Thursday.

He'll have plenty of time to recover, teeing off at 2:36 p.m. ET on Friday.

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MAY 19: Tiger Woods of The United States plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 19, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MAY 19: Tiger Woods of The United States plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 19, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.