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PGA Championship: Tiger Woods claws out a 1-over round on a scoring morning

In Sports
May 17, 2024
Tiger Woods in the opening round of the PGA Championship. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods in the opening round of the PGA Championship. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE — There’s a weariness to Tiger Woods these days, a bone-deep exhaustion when he comes off the course that makes you wonder, briefly, why he still puts himself through this when proof of his all-time greatness was established two decades ago.

The answer, of course, is that he does this for the same reason that you and I breathe. He needs the juice of competition, the rush of a challenge. For so many years, he controlled the course, but now the terms of the deal have flipped. He has to accept what the course — and his body — will give him.

“Each day is a little bit different,” Woods sighed after his round, where he finished at one-over and 10 strokes behind clubhouse leader Xander Schauffele. “Some days, it’s better than others. It’s just the way it is. My body is just that way. Some days, it feels great, and other days, a bit of a struggle.”

Woods had one of the day’s earliest tee times on Thursday, and it showed. The Valhalla rough, soaked with morning dew, caused him troubles early, leading to his first bogey and a long par save.

“It took me probably three holes to get back into competitive flow again and get a feel for hitting the ball out there in competition, adrenaline, temperatures, green speeds,” he said. “These are all things that normally I adjust to very quickly, and it just took me a few holes to get into it.”

Since the PGA Championship moved to May starting in 2019, Woods has a missed cut, a withdrawal and a T37 finish. Since that miraculous Masters win in 2019, he has no finish in a major higher than 21st. He’ll have to work Friday — or Saturday, depending on the weather — to make the cut this week. But he’ll try. It’s what he does, year after year.

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