Tiger Woods buried memories of his nightmare finish at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a perfect start at the 92nd U.S. PGA Championship on Thursday.
The American world number one, who arrived at Whistling Straits after producing the worst PGA Tour performance of his career, birdied three of the first four holes of the opening round to move into a tie for the early lead.
In pursuit of his first major victory since the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods rolled in putts from 10 feet at the 10th and the 11th, after teeing off on the back nine, before sinking a 15-footer at the 13th to get to three under par. That put him level with Australian Stuart Appleby, who had completed eight holes, and Germany's Martin Kaymer, after five.
On a breezy, sun-splashed day at Whistling Straits where fog delayed the start by more than three hours, Woods launched his bid for a first win of the season in confident style.
After being warmly greeted by the fans packed around the 10th tee, he struck a three-wood to the left side of the fairway before hitting a wedge approach to 10 feet and coolly sinking the putt for a birdie three.
It’s wide open at whistling straits
In the eyes of the players and many of the fans, this week’s at Whistling Straits is wide open for the taking, especially given the recent struggles of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Woods produced his worst ever PGA Tour finish at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where Mickelson, poised to take over at the top of the rankings for the first time, spectacularly flopped in Sunday’s final round. Add to that the fact that there have been five first-time winners in the last six majors and you have the recipe for an intriguing menu over the next four days on the Straits Course. “There’s no doubt about it, this is probably as wide open a major as we have seen in a long time,” American world number four Steve Stricker told reporters on Wednesday. “And I still think Tiger and Phil are going to be there come Sunday. “Last week, they played not very well ... but I imagine they will get their games going here.”