Double bogeys undo Tiger's fast start

Updated: August 11, 2011, 11:05 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- A promising start turned into a shocking disappointment Thursday for Tiger Woods, who made three double bogeys at Atlanta Athletic Club on his way to a 77 during the first round of the PGA Championship.

[+] EnlargeTiger Woods
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireTiger Woods shared the lead at 3-under early Thursday, then struggled to a 77.

The 7-over-par total left Woods tied for 129th place, well behind first-round leader Steve Stricker, who shot a 63, matching a major championship record.

For Woods, who has won 14 major titles, it was among his worst performances.

"I'm not down, I'm just very angry right now," Woods said after shooting his highest opening round in a major championship and highest ever at the PGA. "I thought I could play by feel, see the shot, hit the shot. I'm not at that point yet."

Woods started nicely Thursday morning, rolling in a birdie putt at the 10th hole (his first), then adding birdies at the 12th and 14th holes. At 3-under par through his first five holes, Woods was tied for the early lead.

But he lost five shots against par on the next four holes, with double bogeys at the 15th and 18th. Tiger added five more bogeys on the front nine, including his third double bogey of the day, at No. 6.

Woods, who tees off at 1:45 p.m. ET on Friday, is now in danger of seeing his PGA Tour season come to an early end. Woods has never missed the cut in 13 previous PGA Championships, but if he fails to finish among the top 70 and ties, he'll be headed home for the weekend.

And that means he might not be seen again this year on the PGA Tour.

Woods, 35, is 129th in FedEx Cup points and needs to be among the top 125 through next week's Wyndham Championship in order to advance to the first of four playoff events in two weeks.

So unless he changes his mind, Woods would miss the four playoff events and it is unlikely he'd be seen on the PGA Tour again in 2011 unless he plays somewhere overseas.

There are four Fall Series events that follow the Tour Championship next month, but Woods has never played in any of them in their current configuration. The last time he played any of those tournaments was in 2005 at Walt Disney World.

Woods wasn't thinking about any of that Thursday. He talked afterward about how he missed a good opportunity to build on his good start by going away from what got him to that point.

"I was 3 under through five (holes) and figured I could start letting it go, play by instinct and feel," he said. "That screwed up my whole round."

Woods' highest score in a major was an 81 during the third round of the British Open in 2002 at Muirfield, where he played in wind and rain.

Woods missed two major championships this year due to knee and Achilles injuries that kept him from finishing a tournament since a tie for fourth at the Masters in April. He tried to come back at The Players Championship, where he withdrew after nine holes, then shut it down until last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 37th.

Bob Harig is a golf writer for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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