Mistakes mar Woods’ solid play at PGA
Up and down opening round included one eagle, two double-bogeys at Bethpage Black
May 16, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- May 16, 2019
Tiger Woods' 31-foot eagle in Round 1 at PGA Championship
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Tiger Woods didn’t come to Bethpage Black on Wednesday after falling ill. He said he felt fine during the first round of the PGA Championship, though. It was just the sloppy mistakes that made him sick.
Woods drove the ball well enough to contend at Bethpage Black, but his steady ball-striking was outweighed by too many sloppy shots when he had short clubs in hand.
Bethpage Black is a long, brutish course lined by rough so thick that players are struggling even to hit mid-irons out of it. Woods missed just four fairways while hitting driver off a majority of the tees. And he had birdie putts on nine of his final 10 holes to steady himself after making two double-bogeys on his opening nine. But he three-putted twice on his back nine and signed for a 72. He sat nine shots off Brooks Koepka’s lead after that frustrating first round.
“It wasn't as clean as I'd like to have it for sure,” Woods said. His score was about three-quarters of a shot below the field average in the morning.
The miscues started on his first hole, the 502-yard 10th. He had to chop out of the rough after his ball barely missed the fairway. He air-mailed the hole with his 85-yard wedge shot en route to a double-bogey. He sailed a similar shot over the green on the par-5 13th. He saved par but it was a missed opportunity on one of two par-5s on the course.
That was his only sloppy shot on the six holes between his double-bogeys on Nos. 10 and 17. He appeared to be in control during those six holes, making all pars and a birdie at 15 after a strong long-iron approach to the uphill green. Then his tee shot plugged in the front bunker on 17, a long par-3, and he compounded that bad break by racing his par putt past the hole and missing his comebacker.
Woods atoned for all those mistakes with the start of his front nine. This may be the PGA Championship in name, but it is playing just as difficult as the two U.S. Opens that visited this municipal masterpiece on Long Island. Just reaching red figures is an accomplishment, and that’s what Woods did after playing the first four holes of the front nine in 4 under par (a missed 9-footer was the only thing that kept him from playing that stretch in 5 under).
He started his second nine with a deft recovery from the trees right of the first fairway. Then he knocked a wedge stiff on the second hole. He lasered a long-iron within 10 feet on the long par-3 third hole (but missed the putt). And then there was the eagle at the par-5 fourth, one of the rare reprieves on this punishing course. He holed a 31-footer for eagle there and the New York fans responded with voracious roars. It was his first eagle at the PGA Championship since 2001.
His time below par was short-lived. He bogeyed three of his next four holes, including two three-putts. The other came after he raced a relatively straightforward chip 8 feet past the hole on the par-3 eighth.
Woods faced five putts from 5-10 feet on Thursday. He missed them all. Woods lost nearly a stroke on the greens (-0.91).
“I let a couple slip away with a couple bad putts and a couple mistakes at the end,” he said.
The scorecard said Bethpage Black was 7,406 yards on Thursday, but the wet ground and cool weather made it feel even longer. Woods had to hit long-iron into several holes after averaging just 281 yards off the tee. Half of his approach shots were from outside 190 yards.
“When I had opportunities there with short irons, I was aggressive,” Woods said. “And I was able to get the ball in there relatively close. Otherwise, it felt like I hit a lot of 4-irons and 5-irons in there, and it was hard to get the ball close.”
Bethpage Black may be known for its length, but it was the short shots that gave him the most trouble Thursday.
Tiger Woods' 110-yard approach yields birdie putt at PGA Championship
ROUND 1: TIGER HOLE-BY-HOLE
No. 10 (par 4, 502 yards): Not an ideal start for Tiger. He needed four shots just to reach the green, then missed a 6-foot putt for bogey. He isn’t the only player to struggle on No. 10, though. Early on Thursday, it’s playing as the second-hardest hole at Bethpage Black. The average score is 4.6. Woods’ 6 is the fifth double-bogey or worse on the hole.
It started with the tee shot. Woods hit a high fade with the driver that barely missed the fairway. In a sign of how thick the rough is this week, Woods had to lay up from 201 yards. His biggest error came on his next shot, an 85-yard wedge shot that flew the hole by 20 yards. He couldn’t get up and down from the short grass behind the green.
Fairways hit: 0 for 1
Greens hit: 0 for 1
SCORE: Double bogey (2 over through 1 hole)
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No. 11 (par 4, 435 yards): Woods looks like he has things back under control. He hits the fairway and green, then two-putts from 44 feet for par after burning the edge on his long birdie putt. This is what he needed to settle in after that tough start on 10.
Fairways hit: 1 for 2
Greens hit: 1 for 2
SCORE: Par (2 over through 2 holes)
No. 12 (par 4, 515 yards): Another driver. Another high fade. This one finds the fairway, but it only traveled 277 yards. Tiger has 230 yards left, but at least it’s from the short grass. Woods leads the TOUR in greens hit, so finding the fairways is the first priority and he proves that by knocking it on the green. For the second straight hole, Woods almost rolls in the long birdie putt. It’s another two-putt par. Things are going smoothly after that tough start.
Fairways hit: 2 for 3
Greens hit: 2 for 3
SCORE: Par (2 over through 3 holes)
No. 13 (par 5, 608 yards): Hitting it far is important at Bethpage Black, but not with wedges in hand. Woods has flown the green both times he’s had a shot from inside 100 yards. This time it was with his 87-yard third shot at the par-5 13th. He did save par from behind the green but it’s a missed birdie opportunity on one of the two par-5s on Bethpage Black.
On the plus side, Woods has hit three consecutive fairways and made three consecutive pars after that opening double bogey.
Fairways hit: 3 of 4
Greens hit: 2 of 4
SCORE: Par (2 over through 4 holes)
No. 14 (par 3, 161 yards): Two-putt pars are always a good thing at Bethpage Black, but this was another missed birdie opportunity on a course that doesn’t offer many of them. The pin was back-right on this short par-3, but Woods couldn’t get his tee shot onto the back shelf. He has yet to hit an approach shot within 30 feet of the hole. Woods walked off the green with his fourth straight par after holing a 4-foot putt.
Fairways hit: 3 of 4
Greens hit: 3 of 5
SCORE: Par (2 over through 5 holes)Tiger Woods hits a tee shot Thursday on the 12th hole at Bethpage Black. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
No. 15 (par 4, 484 yards): Tiger’s first birdie of the day comes on one of the toughest holes, the uphill 15th. It’s just the second birdie of the day on 486-yard hole. It started with another strong tee shot, a cut driver that found the fairway for the fourth consecutive time. Then he hit a 208-yard approach to 16 feet.
Woods has looked solid. His driver is under control and his iron game is impeccable per usual. His only mistake thus far has been the two wedges that air-mailed the green.
Fairways hit: 4 of 5
Greens hit: 4 of 6
SCORE: Birdie (1 over through 6 holes)
No. 16 (par 4, 490 yards): That was a good old-fashioned grinding par for Tiger. He missed his first fairway since No. 10 after his drive didn’t cut enough. He gouged one out of the thick stuff, and was able to roll it to within 30 yards of the hole. He pitched to 4 feet and walked away with a par that had to put a pep in his step. Those kind of pars will be important this week.
Fairways hit: 4 of 6
Greens hit: 4 of 7
SCORE: Par (1 over through 7 holes)
No. 17 (par 3, 207 yards): All that good momentum may have gone out the window with a double-bogey on 17, his second of the day. Woods’ tee shot on the par-3 plugged in a bunker. He hit that sand shot to 30 feet, then inexplicably three-putted from the fringe after racing his par putt 8 feet past the hole. This one was a head-shaker.
Fairways hit: 4 of 6
Greens hit: 4 of 8
SCORE: Double-bogey (3 over through 8 holes)
No. 18 (par 4, 411 yards): Tiger makes the turn after a solid par at the 18th hole. He split the fairway and knocked his approach to 18 feet. He makes the turn in 3 over after playing seven solid holes and two head-scratching ones.
SCORE: Par (3 over through 9 holes)
FIRST 9 STATS
Fairways hit: 5 of 7
Greens hit: 5 of 9
No. 1 (par 4, 430 yards): A bounce-back birdie, and this was a hard-earned one. It didn’t look like a 3 was possible after Woods’ tee shot landed underneath the trees that protect the inside of this severe dogleg-right. He was able to gouge one out of the rough and onto the green, though. He finished it off with a 14-foot birdie putt. Tiger has two birdies and two doubles. He’s parred the other six holes.
Fairways hit: 5 of 8
Greens hit: 6 of 10
SCORE: Birdie (2 over through 10 holes)
No. 2 (par 4, 389 yards): Back-to-back birdies to start his back nine. The first one was a master-class in scrambling. This one was a textbook 3 on the course’s shortest par-4. He lasered a fairway-wood into the left side of the fairway, then knocked his 110-yard approach to 3 feet.
Fairways hit: 6 of 9
Greens hit: 7 of 11
SCORE: Birdie (1 over through 11 holes)
No. 3 (par 3, 230 yards): Tiger lasered a long-iron within 10 feet on the 235-yard hole but was unable to convert the tee shot for birdie. Still, Woods’ card is only marred by those two doubles. He has three birdies and seven pars on the other 10 holes.
Fairways hit: 6 of 9
Greens hit: 8 of 12
SCORE: Par (1 over through 12 holes)
No. 4 (par 5, 517 yards): Tiger is under par and on the leaderboard after holing a 31-foot eagle putt at this hole. It’s his first eagle at the PGA Championship since 2001, and just his third at this event. He’s played the first four holes of his back nine in 4 under par. He was a 9-foot birdie putt from playing those four holes in 5 under. It’s an incredible turnaround. He played this hole beautifully, hitting a 298-yard drive and then hitting the middle of the green from 210 yards. His long-iron play has been impeccable today. This was the latest example.
Fairways hit: 7 of 11
Greens hit: 9 of 13
SCORE: Eagle (1 under through 13 holes)
No. 5 (par 4, 478 yards): Well, that was a letdown. After an eagle that brought the roars to Bethpage, Tiger three-putted for his first bogey of the day. He raced his 32-foot putt about 4 feet by the hole, then missed the comebacker. Woods is even par despite missing four putts from inside 10 feet already today.
Fairways hit: 8 of 12
Greens hit: 10 of 14
SCORE: Bogey (Even through 14 holes)
No. 6 (par 4, 408 yards): Tiger found trouble off the tee on the course’s second-shortest par-4, but he was able to hit the green from the fairway bunker. After three-putting from 30 feet on the previous hole, Tiger makes a tidy two-putt from 50 feet.
Fairways hit: 8 of 12
Greens hit: 11 of 15
SCORE: Par (Even through 15 holes)
No. 7 (par 4, 524 yards): That’s two three-putts in his last three holes. Tiger has hit eight consecutive greens in regulation, but after playing the first four holes of the front nine in 4 under par he’s given two of those strokes back because of poor lag putting. Woods had 55 feet for birdie on this converted par-5 but left it 6 feet short. Woods is back to 1 over par.
Fairways hit: 9 of 13
Greens hit: 12 of 16
SCORE: Bogey (1 over through 16 holes)
No. 8 (par 3, 210 yards): Woods streak of eight consecutive greens hit came to an end by mere inches. His tee shot on the longpar-3 came to rest in the first cut. He was left with a straightforward chip shot but raced it 9 feet by the hole. He missed it, his sixth miss from inside 10 feet today. He’s missed all five of his attempts from 5-10 feet. It’s his third bogey in his last four holes.
Fairways hit: 9 of 13
Greens hit: 12 of 17
SCORE: Bogey (2 over through 17 holes)
No. 9 (par 4, 460 yards): Woods two-putts from 28 feet to walk away with 72, a score that has to be disappointing after making eagle on his 13th hole to get into red figures. He bogeyed three of his last five holes despite steady ballstriking on his back nine. Woods had birdie putts on nine of his last 10 holes but only played them in 1 under par. He three-putted twice on his back nine.
Fairways hit: 10 of 14
Greens hit: 12 of 18
ROUND 1 SCORE: 2-over 72