It’s his worst first round in a major. One hour after he started, Tiger Woods was atop the leaderboard Thursday at the PGA Championship and felt like the Tiger of old. He never imagined he would finish with his worst score ever in the opening round of a major.
He opened with three birdies in five holes. He followed with three double bogeys over the next 10 holes.
Woods started out with his name high on the board, right next to Steve Stricker, who went on to tie a major championship record with 63. Woods wound up toward the bottom, next to John Daly and 57-year-old Jerry Pate, with a 77.
It was his worst round in a major since Woods shot an 81 in the vicious wind and pelting rain of Muirfield in the third round of the British Open nine years ago. And it was no mystery to him how it all happened.
“Got off to a great start today, was three under early, was having mechanical thoughts through those holes … and I thought, ‘I can let it go’ and play by instinct and feel,” he said. “And it just screwed up my whole round. I’m not at that point where I can do that yet.”
Woods returned to competition last week and completed his first tournament since the Masters, staying away from golf until he was certain that injuries to his left leg would no longer cause him trouble.
The head — not to mention his swing — still have plenty of work.
Woods looked serious as ever when he walked onto the putting green to begin warming up. Then came an 18-foot birdie putt on the opening hole, an aggressive five-wood from a blind shot in the pine straw on the par-five 12th, followed by a bunker shot from a plugged lie to 3 feet for another birdie.
He hammered a drive more than 300 yards in the air on the 14th, leaving him a wedge to 3 feet for another birdie.
“He’s back!” a fan cried out. Not quite.
It was the worst opening round for Woods in any tournament since he shot 79 at the Australian Open in 1996. He is due to play Down Under again in November. At this rate, that might be his next tournament. If he misses the cut today — he has done that only twice in the majors — he would not be eligible for any PGA Tour events for six weeks.
Not since the final round at Bay Hill in 2007 had Woods made at least three double bogeys in one round. He started this carnage with a four-iron on the 254-yard 15th hole that didn’t look awful until it landed, just to the right of the green and into the pond.
Woods was in the sand a dozen times.
He has talked about returning to his old swing while trying to learn a new one, and he said that was the case Thursday.
“And that’s what’s frustrating,” Woods said. “I thought I was playing well enough that I don’t have to do that. I can just go out there and play and let it go and just play by feel — see the shot, hit the shot, feel it. And I’m not at that point yet. My same motor patterns get in there. I start fighting it, and I couldn’t get it back.”
WATERLOGGED: At least Woods fared better than Japanese teen Ryo Ishikawa, thought to be a contender coming off a strong showing last week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone.
The 19-year-old should’ve brought his swimsuit, putting six balls in the water and finishing with an 15-over 85 — pretty much assured of missing the cut before much of the field even got on the course. It got so bad at one point that Ishikawa said he “stopped counting.”
His goal for the second round? “Birdies on every hole, all 18,” he said.
Jennifer Aniston Voted World’s Most Eligible Single Woman; Betty White At 4th. Jennifer Aniston is the world’s most eligible single woman, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. The survey result, released Monday, shows that the former “Friends” star beat out Halle Berry and even Betty White for the title. The 41-year-old actress, who famously split with Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughn, and John Mayer among others, pulled in 29 percent of the overall vote. She amassed 27 percent of the men’s votes and 32 percent of the women’s. She is followed by Oscar winner Halle Berry. The mother of one, who recently split with baby daddy Gabriel Aubry, took in 21 percent of the total votes. Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren gets 15 percent at third place. 88-year-old Betty White is at fourth place. The widow of TV host Allen Ludden garnered 11 percent of the total votes. Following her are Lady Gaga and Justice Elena Kegan, who gathered 5 percent and 4 percent votes respectively. The poll was conducted by telephone at the CBS News interviewing facility among a random sample of 906 adults nationwide from September 6 to 8.
Oprah Winfrey Reclaims Most Powerful Celebrity Throne. Oprah Winfrey is once again the queen of celebrities. The media mogul has reclaimed her throne as the most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine, knocking over last year’s number 1 Angelina Jolie. Forbes tallied the names in the Celebrity 100 based on fame and money. Their earnings estimates and their Web hits, including press mentions. For this year, their social standing was also calculated using social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Winfrey was ousted from her comfortable top position last year by Jolie, but quickly regained footing this year. The magazine cited her eponymous talk show, as well as other media. Lady Gaga debuts in the list at 4th place, while America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock sits pretty at 8th place. She was 92nd last year. Beyonce Knowles (2nd), Britney Spears (6th), Madonna (10th), and U2 (7th) make up the music stars included in the first 10 rank. James Cameron (3rd), Johnny Depp (9th), and Tiger Woods (5th) round up the Top 10. Jolie and partner Brad Pitt also make the list at 18th and 30th place respectively, while “Twilight” stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson join the power list for the first time at 66th and 50th.
Top 50 of Forbes’ Most Powerful List:
16.Black Eyed Peas
21.Dr. Phil McGraw
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