Tiger Woods decided to skip his customary practice session and take the rest of the day off after a “terrible” 2-over-par 74 in the first round of the Quail Hollow Championship.
Woods missed 10 of 14 fairways off the tee today and is nine strokes behind leader Bo Van Pelt, whose bogey-free 65 matched Woods’s opening-round score at the event a year ago.
In his first appearance at a regular U.S. PGA Tour event since admitting marital infidelity five months ago, Woods had four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I pretty much struggled all day,” Woods told reporters after his round. “I didn’t really know which way it was going to go today, left or right.”
Woods was 4-over par during one three-hole stretch midway through his round, when he hit consecutive tee shots into water hazards -- one into a pond surrounding the par-3 17th hole and then a drive into a creek on the par-4 18th.
“It was a terrible day. I’m just glad I didn’t post any snowmen,” Woods said, using the nickname for an 8 on a golfer’s scorecard.
The No. 1 player in golf’s official world rankings, Woods birdied three of seven holes to get back to 1-over par before a bogey on his final hole. Woods had three top-5 finishes in four previous appearances at Quail Hollow, winning the tournament in 2007 and finishing fourth last year.
“I’m not going to the range,” Woods said. “Hell with it. Sometimes after a high round, I just put the clubs away or break a few. I’m just going to let it go today.”
Kenny Perry trails Van Pelt by one shot after a 6-under 66. Camilo Villegas is 5-under par, one ahead of Billy Mayfair, Paul Goydos, Geoff Ogilvy, Brad Faxon, Andres Romero and J.J. Henry.
Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who’s second to Woods in the world rankings, opened with a 2-under-par 70 that included back-to-back bogeys to end the round.
Van Pelt credited much of his success today to a recent putter change. After what he called “eight weeks of temporary insanity” trying out different putters, he put a refurbished T.P. Mills model back in his bag before last week’s tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he finished third.
Van Pelt had used the putter in his lone PGA Tour victory, at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee last season. Since then, the putter had become rusty, forcing Van Pelt to ship it to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where company owner David Mills cleaned it and shipped it back.
“I had it for about five years and it had gotten a bit dinged up,” Van Pelt said. “When I got it back, I told David it looked better than it did brand new. I’ve got a lot of good feelings with that putter, so it was just good to have it back in my hands.”