World number one Tiger Woods has endured several months of torment and poor results, culminating in one of the worst finishing positions of his career in the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, Ohio last week. A massive 18 over par and with only a couple of players behind him was not the result the legendary player needed.
After the opening day at the USPGA Championship, currently underway at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, Woods was just three shots off the lead having shot a one under par 71, and looking much more comfortable with his game.
Thick fog had curtailed play early in the day meaning that many of those who teed off late would not finish their rounds, yet Woods’ score looked good against the bare form of others. Woods expressed his satisfaction with his round, saying:
“That’s the way it goes. I mean, everybody has bad weeks. Welcome to golf. It is what it is. Guys shoot 59 and don’t win. Fickle game. It’s not where I want it, but it’s better. It felt good to be a little bit more steady.”
His putting, problematic of late, also seemed more controlled and on target, a point that Woods was happy to elaborate upon:
“I felt so much more comfortable. I got my lines back. I got everything lined up where I could release the blade.”
With his world number one spot under threat from both Phil Mickelson, current number two and Steve Stricker who sits fourth in the standings – world number three Lee Westwood is absent thanks to a ruptured calf muscle – Woods needs to keep up the pace he has shown so far. Mickelson and Stricker both finished the day one shot under – the same as Woods – albeit with neither of them having finished their rounds thanks to the fog delay.