JOHNS CREEK, GA. — The gruesome portion of the first round of the PGA Championship was supposed to have ended by 1:30 p.m. Thursday. By that time, Tiger Woods trudged off the course carting both a disastrous opening 77 and the burden of a swing-and-thought process that continues to appear in disarray. Woods, who has won this event four times, has only once shot a worse round in a major as a pro, and he sounded exasperated afterward.
“I’m not down,” Woods said. “I’m really angry right now. There’s a lot of words I could use beyond that.”
Perhaps 45 minutes later, Rory McIlroy — presumed by some to be Woods’s heir as the game’s best player — found himself to the left of the third fairway, his ball up against the root of a tree. He made the decision, not a prudent one, to swing away to the green. As soon as his club hit the root at full force, he let it fly, and moments later grimaced at his right wrist.