US PGA: Tiger Woods shows glimpses of former self
Kohler: For a while at least, it was almost like old times for Tiger Woods on the opening day of the US PGA Championship.
The world number one showed glimpses of the form that saw him dominate the sport for the past decade when he birdied three of his first holes before ending the day with a one-under-par 71.
There were no fist-pumps, high-fives or wide smiles, just a steely look of determination, but it was still manna from heaven for the huge galleries following him.
"I got off to a quick start and all of a sudden, I felt like I could shoot something in the 60s," Woods said. "It didn`t quite happen. I lost a few shots out there but I made a nice birdie on nine and finished under par for the day."
Woods may have fallen from grace but the golfing faithful at Whistling Straits were just hoping to see some of his old magic rather than taunt him about his indiscretions.
There was a real buzz in the air when the American rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, his fourth of the round after starting on the back nine, to share the tournament lead, but it was a false dawn.
He salvaged par on the fifth after a wayward drive into a water hazard then drained a seven-foot birdie putt on the last to break par.
"I played too good not to shoot under par," he said. "It would have been very disappointing and frustrating to end up at even par as well as I played today."
Woods`s performance was a dramatic turnaround from last week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio where he imploded to finish tied for second-last in the 80-player field with a total of 18-over, his worst result in a PGA event.
Winless in eight tournaments this year and still struggling to find his best, Woods has been putting in more time on the practice range to hone his game.
"Usually I don`t play the week before a major, so my game is usually more dialed, in," he said. "(But) this has been different and I struggled last week and had to put in some work and felt good."
If his first round was any indication, the extra work was worth it. Woods was more consistent off the tee, despite dropping his driver on the backswing on the fifth, and putted much better on a course softened up by rain the previous day.
"I got everything lined up where I could release the blade, toe is moving again, which is great, something I like to feel. It felt good," he said.
"I was able to control my trajectory ... I felt like I was driving the ball and I was able to control it both ways."