Sport Golf

Monday 23 July 2018

Tiger blames putting for latest poor Major round

Tiger Woods endured another frustrating round
Tiger Woods endured another frustrating round

William S Callahan

Former world number one Tiger Woods blamed his putting after struggling to an opening round of 75 in the US PGA Championship last night.

Woods, who missed consecutive cuts in Major championships for the first time in his career in the US Open and Open Championship, faces a battle to avoid another early exit after carding five bogeys and two birdies at Whistling Straits.

"I hit it great today, but I made actually nothing," the 14-time Major winner said. "Probably one of the worst putting rounds I've had in a very long time. But I hit it good today, so that's about it.

"I just had no feel at all for the speed (on the greens). It was awful. My speed was bad, hence speed determines line, so that was off. I either left them short or blew them by. Just didn't have the speed at all.

"I kept with the game plan, I struck it the way I wanted to pretty much all day, and I just never got a putt, I don't think I made one putt all day.

"Good news is I had complete control of the golf ball - even with these conditions as they got tougher, I was able to control it."

At 186th in the FedEx Cup standings, Woods needs to finish second or better at Whistling Straits to jump into the top 125 and be eligible for the first play-off event in a fortnight's time, having currently not entered next week's final qualifying event.

"The season is pretty much over very soon," the 39-year-old added. "But the year's not.

"I still can do things overseas, our next (PGA Tour) season is starting up, I have my tournament down in the Bahamas. There's plenty of golf to be played globally. The season, it is what it is, but calendar year I still have a lot of golf left."

Elseewhere, Justin Rose drew on memories of his US Open victory in 2013 to bounce back from a poor start.

Starting on the back nine in favourable conditions for the early starters, Rose was two over par after four holes before recovering with five birdies in the next 11 to post an opening 69.

"I think the first four holes are birdie opportunities, especially this morning," Rose said. "I got a little unlucky on my lie in the bunker on 11. It was just the most awful rake job I have ever seen in my life. Actually couldn't even get out of the bunker. Left it in there and got up and down for a bogey.

"Then made a weak bogey at the 13th hole, so two over through four and obviously not feeling particularly good, but I just reminded myself that I was four over through 13 when I won at Merion and bounced back from that."

Rose has made a bad habit of getting off to slow starts in major championships and joked: "I just like to give the guys a chance.

"I felt good today as well so there wasn't really any particular rhyme or reason for it. You're always going to have a bad stretch in a major where you make a bogey or double and you've got to be resilient to win these tournaments.

"Whatever happens at the beginning or middle of the week, you've got to suck it up and forget that and realise that you're not the only one making mistakes.

"It's the perfect start, really. I think obviously when you go and shoot seven, eight or nine under in a major in the first round, it's a lot of pressure to absorb for the rest of the week, because you're in contention. It's a platform on which I can build now for the rest of the week."

Irish Independent

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