By Issy Ronald, CNN
On the ninth hole of the first round, Tiger Woods slammed his golf club into the ground in frustration.
Afterward, he walked up to the green with a more pronounced limp than had been seen earlier in the day and eventually finished the hole with a bogey, kicking off a run of three consecutive bogeys.
As he continues his comeback from serious leg injuries sustained in a car accident last year, Woods struggled in the opening round of the PGA Championship carding a 74, nine strokes behind overnight leader Rory McIlroy.
“My leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be,” Woods told the media afterwards.
“We’ll start the recovery process and get after it tomorrow. I just can’t load it. Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, walking hurts and twisting hurts. It’s just golf. If I don’t play that, then I’m all right.”
Woods’ round began brightly with two birdies and three pars in the opening five holes before his leg began to trouble him and he limped to 4-over par at the end of the day.
In his last 13 holes, he only hit three greens, made six bogeys and consistently misjudged his bunker shots.
“All the bunker shots sort of came out hot,” Woods said. “The sand is a lot faster than I thought it would be.”
“Kind of been that way all week, especially if you get up in the areas where it’s not raked… I feel like sometimes the sand — I’m guessing, and I guessed wrong.”
Woods seemed to arrive at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa with a relatively conservative strategy, choosing to iron off the tee while the other players in his star-studded group — McIlroy and Jordan Speith — hit with drivers.
While McIlroy averaged 331 yards off the tee, Woods averaged just 293.4 yards — the 136th shortest distance in a field of 156.
“The game is just different,” Woods said. “It’s much more aggressive now, and I know that. But I was playing to my spots. If I would have hit the ball solidly on those two holes and put the ball in the fairway, I would have been fine.”
Woods tees off for the second round at 2:36 p.m. ET on Friday.
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