TULSA, Oklahoma (Reuters) - Tiger Woods struggled mightily in the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club where he played through significant discomfort over his closing holes and will have plenty of work to do to make the cut.
Woods, in his second start since a February, 2021 car crash that nearly ended his career, looked good early but pushed his body to its limits and it cost him as he gritted his teeth in pain towards the end of his opening four-over-par 74.
"Yeah, my leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be," Woods told reporters after finishing his round nine shots behind clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy. "We'll start the recovery process and get after it tomorrow."
Woods started on the back nine and his right leg was clearly troubling him by the time he got to the par-four seventh. He had a slight limp as he approached the green at his penultimate hole before grimacing and reaching for his back after his final tee shot.
The 15-times major champion, playing in a high-profile group with McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, was two under through five holes but the mistakes started to pile up as the day went on and he carded five of his seven bogeys on his second nine.
"I got off to a great start and didn't keep it going. I really didn't give myself any looks for birdie," said Woods. "I was struggling trying to get the ball on the green, and I missed quite a few iron shots both ways. It was a frustrating day."
Woods, who won the PGA Championship when it was last held at Southern Hills in 2007, said he will undergo treatment and take ice baths in a bid to reduce inflammation in his right leg before returning on Friday for his 2:36 p.m. ET (1836 GMT) tee time.
"I just can't load it. Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, and walking hurts, and twisting hurts," Woods said when asked how the sore leg impacts his swing. "It's just golf. I don't play that, if I don't do that, then I'm all right."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)