Tiger Woods' bid to end a five-year drought in majors got
off to a slow start Thursday. His group was put on the clock midway through
their first round of the PGA Championship.
Woods had trouble keeping pace on the scoreboard, as well. Jim Furyk and Adam Scott challenged the East Course record at Oak Hill Country Club before settling for 5-under-par 65s to share the opening-day lead.
A stormy day in suburban Rochester ended with 35 golfers under par and the world's top two players, Woods and Phil Mickelson, in at 1-over 71, both finishing with double bogeys.
"I'm still right there," Woods said, repeating a refrain heard often during his 18 empty major efforts. "I'm only six back, and we have got a long way to go."
Overnight rains made the course vulnerable to low scores, and a thunderstorm that delayed play for 71 minutes softened the 7,200-yard layout even more.
Furyk and Scott, the reigning Masters champion, capitalized the most.
"Conditions were good, and that helped, but that can change quickly," said Furyk, whose bid to match the course record ended with a final-hole bogey. "That moisture can get sucked up."
Scott's round included five straight birdies on the front side.
"The greens were soft, and that was by Mother Nature more than anything," Scott said. "So if they firm up a little bit, we're going to have a tough test over the next three days."
Lee Westwood and Canadian David Hearn were tied for third at 66. Six posted scores of 3 under, and another 11 were 2 under.
The forecast is for dry weather and seasonable temperatures for the remainder of the week.
"It's no surprise Jim is up there," defending champion Rory McIlroy said after shooting 1 under. "There's a lot of good players at the top of the leaderboard. Adam Scott seems to be playing well every week."
Mickelson, coming off last month's British Open victory, was typical Phil. He hooked his tee ball on No. 4 into the expensive houses on Kilbourn Road.
After the delay, he birdied three of his next four holes to get into red figures, but he played the 18th hole along the left tree line, eventually missing a 20-foot bogey putt.
He headed from the 18th green to the driving range to work on his ball-striking into the twilight.
Woods' round was disrupted slightly when officials began timing his group after nine holes. The threesome, which included Keegan Bradley (69) and Davis Love III (74), was taken off the clock after four holes.
"We play just about every week like that," Woods said. "We have a lot of people following us and a lot of cameras going off and movement inside the galleries."
Furyk, whose only major victory came in the 2003 U.S. Open, is coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. He has six other top-5 finishes in majors, although he hasn't had a top-25 at the PGA since the tournament was held here in 2003.
"This sport beats you up," he said. "If I played 25 events a year and I win one event a year for my entire career, you would be one hell of a player. You won over 20 times on the PGA Tour, and you're going to lose 24 times a year. You've got to take your lumps."
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