Balky putter leaves Tiger Woods well back

Balky putter leaves Tiger Woods well back

Tiger Woods`s bid to halt his run of missed major cuts took a hit on Thursday with a first-round 75 at the PGA Championship.

Woods, whose early exits at the US and British Opens marked the first time he missed two straight major championship cuts, will have work to do on Friday to make it to the weekend at Whistling Straits.

"Probably one of the worst putting rounds I`ve had in a very long time," said Woods, whose three-over round included five bogeys and left him nine off the early clubhouse lead of Dustin Johnson.

Woods said he could never find the right pace on the Whistling Straits greens, making it impossible to capitalize on the favorable morning conditions.

"I just had no feel at all for the speed," Woods said. "It was awful. My speed was bad, hence speed determines line, so that was off.

"I either left them short or blew them by," said Woods, who needed 33 putts. "Just didn`t have the speed at all."

Woods, who has slumped to 278th in the world in a season that has seen him miss the cut in three of nine prior starts and produce career-worst rounds of 82 and then 85 on the PGA Tour, insisted his ball-striking was spot-on.

"I hit it great today," said Woods, who reached his first seven greens in regulation only to find himself at even par after a bogey at 14 and a birdie at 16.

He bogeyed 18 to make the turn at one-over and found himself scrambling on an inward run that included three bogeys and a birdie.

"I kept to the game plan, struck it the way I wanted to," said Woods, although he hit just seven of 14 fairways in regulation.

"Hopefully I can hit the ball as well as I did today tomorrow and make some putts," he said.

With his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus`s record 18 major titles stalled on 14 since his 2008 US Open victory, Woods needs a strong showing in the year`s last major just to have any hope of qualifying for the US PGA Tour`s FedEx Cup playoffs.

He seemed resigned to the fact that his Stateside season is beyond salvaging.

"The season is pretty much over very soon," Woods said. "The year is not. I still can do things overseas ... I have my tournament down in the Bahamas. There`s plenty of golf to be played globally.

"So the season ... it is what it is. Calendar year, I still have a lot of golf left."

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