Woes for Woods

Tiger Woods got off to a hot start Thursday, then began spending as much time in water and sand as he did in the fairways. After three doubles and five bogeys, Woods pronounced himself angry but not down.


Tiger Woods began his back nine with three bogeys in the first four holes. (Getty Images)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods returned to the major scene with a major thud.

Seemingly spending as much time in water and sand as he did on the exquisite grass at Atlanta Athletic Club, Woods staggered to a 7-over 77 Thursday -- his worst round ever at the PGA Championship.

A 15th major title? Forget about it. Woods will need a major turnaround just to make the cut.

When he headed off to the clubhouse, stopping briefly to chat with the media, he was a colossal 14 strokes off the lead and only four players had put up a worst score.

"I'm not down," he said. "I'm really angry right now."

Woods knocked two balls in the water and spent enough time in the bunkers to feel like he was on a beach vacation. The result was predictable: Three double bogeys and five bogeys.

Woods' previous worst round in the PGA Championship was a 75, and the only time he posted a higher score in a major was that 81 in the third round of the British Open, played in awful conditions at Muirfield.

That result was stunning because Woods was in his prime, a superb player in the midst of winning 14 major titles.

Now, he looks like just one of the crowd, at best. Woods hasn't won a major championship since his stirring playoff win at the 2008 U.S. Open -- on a leg that needed major surgery. Since then, his marriage has fallen apart, his reputation has taken a beating and his game is not the least bit intimidating.

Fully recovered from a leg injury that caused him to miss both the U.S. Open and the British Open, Woods got off to a strong start with birdies on three of the first five holes, briefly grabbing a share of the lead.

Then Bad Tiger showed up again.

The trouble began at the 253-yard 15th, the over-the-top par 3 that is both long and protected by water. Woods went with an iron but it wasn't quite enough, the ball plopping into the pond that runs along the right side of the hole. He reached down slowly to retrieve his tee and went on to make the first of his double bogeys.

At the 16th, a wild drive led to more problems. Woods landed in a fairway bunker to the right, knocked his approach into the gallery on the left, flopped it into another bunker and settled for a bogey.

Woods took another double bogey at the brutal 18th after plugging his tee shot in, yes, another bunker. He could only gouge it out, found more sand with his third shot and failed to get up-and-down from there.

His momentum totally stymied by a 2-over 37 at the turn, Woods staggered toward the finish. He started the front side with three more bogeys in the first four holes, then dunked another ball in the water at the sixth to set up his third double bogey on an increasingly sweltering day in the Deep South.

Woods closed with an appropriate finish. His approach landed in the bunker in front of the ninth green, his blast-out went far past the flag, and he missed the par putt.