UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Tiger Woods struggled early and often on Day 1 at the U.S. Open.
The three-time champion began his round with back-to-back bogeys and turned in 4 over par before things really started to unravel.
Woods played Nos. 11-14 in 6 over par, including a triple bogey-7 at the 14th hole after needing three swings to extricate himself from various bunkers and three-putting from 30 feet. He closed his day with a bogey at the par-5 finishing hole.
It all added up to an opening 80, his highest round as a professional at the U.S. Open. His previous worst showing was matching rounds of 76 in 2006, the only year he’s missed the cut at his national championship.
“I fought hard,” said Woods, who was tied for 152nd place in the 156-player field. “That was my number [score]; I couldn’t grind it out any harder than that.”
Although Woods said earlier this week that he was optimistic his game was heading in the right direction, he struggled off the tee and from the fairway on Thursday.
For the day he hit just six of 14 fairways, nine of 18 greens and averaged two putts per hole.
“I couldn’t get it turned around today,” said Woods, who had just one score in the 80s on the PGA Tour in his first 1,107 rounds as a professional but now has three cards in the 80s in his last 15 rounds. “I’m trying as hard as I can but for some reason I can’t get any consistency out there.”
Woods shot a third-round 85, his highest round on Tour as a professional, two weeks ago at the Memorial and missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after a second-round 82 in February.
Tiger wasn't alone in his misery Thursday. Playing competitors Louis Oosthuizen and Rickie Fowler shot 77 and 81, respectively.
"The bright side," Woods joked, "is I kicked Rickie's butt today."