Woods, Mickelson three behind leaders in unfinished first round of PGA Championship at Whistling Straits
Thursday, August 12, 2010; 11:44 PM
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- The fog finally lifted over Whistling Straits and revealed a stunning vista.
Tiger Woods' name was atop the leaderboard.
Just not for long.
At the end of opening day in the PGA Championship, he wasn't near the names of Bubba Watson and Francesco Molinari, who each opened with a 4-under 68; or Ernie Els, Matt Kuchar and Nick Watney, who also were at 4 under when it became too dark for them to finish the first round.
Woods, who made three birdies inside 12 feet on the opening four holes, had to birdie his final hole just to break par, a 1-under 71. That used to be considered an ordinary start in a major. Considering his recent woes, this was nearly cause for celebration.
"To shoot something under par, that was the goal today," Woods said.
He joined 21 others among the 78 early starters who completed the first round, which was delayed by more than three hours because of fog. Still to be determined is whether he can back that up. It was the first time in eight rounds that Woods had broken par.
And there were enough errant shots, including one that went so far left it found a marsh he didn't know was there, that Woods had to make an 8-foot birdie on the final hole to avoid wasting a day in which he appeared to make progress.
"I've played too good not to shoot under par," Woods said. "It would've been very disappointing and frustrating to end up at even par as well as I played today. To make that putt - to shoot under par - just feels like that's what I should have shot the way I played today. And that's a good feeling."
Since when is shooting 71 a good feeling for a guy with 14 majors?
When he's coming off the worst tournament of his career, an 18-over 298 at Firestone to beat only one player in the field, raising questions that ranged from whether this would be his last PGA Tour event of the year in America to whether he belonged in the Ryder Cup.
"Welcome to golf, you know?" Woods said.