PGA Championship: Tiger Woods rues iron play and praises Rory McIlroy after opening-round 74
Tiger Woods, a four-time winner of the Wanamaker Trophy and former champion at Southern Hills, is nine strokes behind early leader Rory McIlroy and faces a battle to make the cut; Watch the PGA Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 20/05/22 8:55am
Tiger Woods lamented a disappointing day with his irons after battling through the pain barrier to post an opening-round 74 at the PGA Championship.
Woods' appearance at Southern Hills is his first since his sensational return to action at The Masters last month and just his second since a career-threatening car crash last February, with the 15-time major champion making the dream start with two birdies in his opening five holes.
The 46-year-old's round quickly unravelled with a poor tee shot and dropped shot at the 15th, with Woods pained expression evident as he laboured to three consecutive bogeys around the turn.
Woods cancelled out a birdie at the third with a dropped shot at the next and finished an erratic opening day with successive bogeys, with the former world No 1 admitting to discomfort in his leg after falling nine strokes behind clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy.
"Physically, I've felt better," Woods told Sky Sports. "Emotionally, I've actually felt better too. It was frustrating. I got off to a great start today, I did exactly what I needed to do starting out the round, but I did not keep it going.
"I hit a lot of bad iron shots, put myself in a lot of bad spots, and never really gave myself any birdie putts. I actually felt comfortable with the driver, I hit a lot of fairways with it, but from there it wasn't very good.
"Most of my bunker shots I hit were long, came out hotter than I thought, but predominately I just hit bad iron shots. That's not normally how I play, but today unfortunately that's kind of what it was."
Woods faces an uphill battle to match the cut made at Augusta National last month, where he opened with a 71 but unsurprisingly faded and shot back-to-back rounds of 78 over the weekend.
The former world No 1 was part of the morning marquee threeball alongside Jordan Spieth - who began his bid for the career Grand Slam with a disappointing opening-round 72 - and McIlroy, who carded seven birdies and two bogeys in an opening 65 to set the clubhouse target on five under par.
"Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory [McIlroy] proved that today," Woods told Sky Sports. "He made it look very easy. He had a couple of shots where he slipped away and he still shot five under and made it look very easy.
"It can be done, I've witnessed it first-hand, so hopefully I can put together something similar tomorrow and get myself back in this tournament."
Watch the PGA Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Friday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf, with Woods' second round scheduled to begin at 7.36pm BST.