Grant Waite birdied the 490-yard par-4 18th to shoot a 6-under-par 64 and take a two-shot lead over a host of other players.
Nine players are tied for second place at 4-under. That list includes Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Fred Funk, David Toms, Niclas Fasth, Stuart Appleby, K. J. Choi, Brad Faxon and Dudley Hart.
Faxon and Toms are 13th and 14th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, respectively. The top ten on the points list at the end of the PGA Championship earn an automatic berth on the American squad.
Click here to see how potential Ryder Cuppers fared in Rd. 1
In 1995, Faxon shot a final-round 63 in the PGA Championship to secure a spot on the team.
However, not everyone was happy with their first round scores, none more so than the two-time defending champion.
Woods, this years Masters winner, played alongside British Open champion Duval and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen on Thursday. Goosen shot 1-under 69.
The major trio began the day at the par-4 10th. It marked the first time since 1977 that the PGA Championship used split tees. The PGA of America wanted to avoid the six-hour rounds experienced last year at Valhalla.
Woods day started with a bogey and only got worse form there. Woods dropped another shot at the par-4 14th and made a double bogey at the par-3 15th. Tiger missed the green left at No. 15 and then pitched his second shot over the green and into the water.
After making the turn in 3-over 38, Tiger birdied the par-4 2nd, but once again made a double bogey at the par-4 3rd.
Tiger did manage to birdie the 5th and 7th holes; yet three-putted the par-4 9th (his 18th) for a bogey.
I just need to make a few more putts, eliminate a couple of mistakes and Ill be right back in it, Woods said.
Woods is trying to become the first player since Walter Hagen (1924-27) to win three straight PGA Championships, and the first man to win any major on three consecutive occasions since Peter Thomson in the British Open from 1954-56.
If I play a good round tomorrow, I should get right back in the tournament, he said. Thats the good thing about a major tournament. If you play well, youll be rewarded for it. Ive just got to play well.
Thats exactly what Waite did on Thursday.
The 37-year-old Kiwi carded six birdies to no bogeys in the first round.
Waite is competing in his fifth career PGA Championship. He missed the cut in his previous four starts. In fact, he has missed his last six cuts on the PGA Tour in 2001.
'It's an adventure. That's the way I look at it,' said Waite, who is best known for losing to Woods in the 2000 Bell Canadian Open.
'I want to look back at the end of the week and say I enjoyed it.'
When David Duval won the Open Championship a few weeks back he gave Mickelson the undisputed title of best player never to win a major.
Mickelson would now like to pass that on to someone else.
The lefty played 17 bogey-free holes at the Highlands Course, before bogeying the 18th. Mickelsons round included four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 5th.
Likewise, Duval only recorded one bogey in his first start since winning his first major championship.
I havent felt this good about my golf or as confident in my abilities in a long, long time, said Duval.
Duval is no stranger to streaks. He went 0-fer in his first 86 PGA Tour starts as a professional, before breaking through and winning the 1997 Michelob Championship. Duval went on to post 11 victories in a 34-start stretch and become the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
A year ago, Duval was forced to skip the PGA Championship due to a bad back.
I was in Ketchum, Idaho last year lying on the floor of my living room watching it, Duval recalled. I watched all the coverage. Its a lot more fun being here and playing.
Full-field scores from the PGA Championship