'Sad to see': Golf fans left shattered over Tiger Woods drama

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Tiger Woods, pictured here enduring a difficult opening round at the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods endured a difficult opening round at the PGA Championship. Image: Getty

Golf fans have been left gutted for Tiger Woods after the American great's injury woes resurfaced in the first round of the PGA Championship.

Woods ended the round wincing and admitted his leg "has felt better" after a promising start turned into a struggle for the 15-time major winner.

A promising two-under opening to Woods' first round turned sour with seven bogeys the rest of the way.

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The 46-year-old carded a four-over 74 on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Woods is competing in just his second tournament since a gruesome single-car accident 15 months ago left him with multiple right leg fractures.

He placed 47th at the Masters last month in his return to competitive golf.

"I hit a lot of bad iron shots in the middle part of the round and late in the round," Woods said on the ESPN broadcast.

"Consequently, I just never got the ball close for any birdie putts. ... I just put myself in bad spots."

Woods began his day on the back nine playing in a group with Jordan Spieth and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

He hit his approach at the par-4 10th hole to 3 feet to set up an easy birdie.

He added a 13-foot birdie at the short 14th, but made his first bogey of the day on the following hole.

However things went downhill from there.

Woods made the turn at even-par 35 but struggled on his second nine.

He recorded three-straight bogeys at the 18th, 1st and 2nd and made just one more birdie the rest of the day - the par-4 third - when his approach landed inside 5 feet of the cup.

Tiger Woods, pictured here shaking hands with Jordan Spieth after the opening round of the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods shakes hands with Jordan Spieth after the opening round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

On several occasions, Woods hit 2-iron stingers off the tee rather than use his driver. He favoured his right leg late in the round and his condition seemed to slow him down.

"It has felt better before," Woods said ruefully of his leg.

"It's a little sore right now and we'll go back and start the process of getting ready for tomorrow."

Woods was asked if he knew the television cameras had caught him wincing, replying: "My leg is not feeling as good as I'd like it to be."

On his final hole, Woods hit his approach well over the green. His third shot did not make it out of the rough, leading to one last bogey.

Woods won the PGA Championship the last time it was held at Southern Hills in 2007.

After surprising the golf world by playing this year's Masters and making the cut, he said in the lead-up to this week that he felt his leg was getting stronger.

Fans were left saddened for the 15-time major winner after such a promising start.

Rory McIlroy's scintillating start at PGA Championship

Seeking a first major in eight years, McIlroy carded a five-under 65 to take a one-shot lead into the clubhouse.

The 33-year-old, who won this event in 2012 and 2014, closed with a birdie on the final hole – his seventh of the day – to put himself in strong contention for another title.

He teed off in a marquee group alongside Spieth and Woods, who carded 74 and 72 respectively, with the latter impressed by what he saw from McIlroy.

"Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory 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."

Rory McIlroy, pictured here in action during the first round of the PGA Championship.
Rory McIlroy in action during the first round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

McIlroy, who finished second in last month's Masters after shooting a record-equalling eight-under 64 on the final day, is not getting carried away just yet.

"I came in here knowing that my game was in good shape," McIlroy said.

"So it's just a matter of going out there and executing the shots that you know that you can.

"Today I did that very well and I just need to try to replicate that tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and not get ahead of myself, but it was a great start."

with agencies

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