Woods shoots 77, worst score ever at PGA

JOHNS CREEK, GA. (AP) - Tiger Woods returned to the major scene with a major thud.

Seemingly spending as much time in water and sand as he did on the exquisite grass at Atlanta Athletic Club, Woods staggered to a 7-over 77 Thursday _ his worst round ever at the PGA Championship.

A 15th major title? Forget about it.

Woods will need a major turnaround just to make the cut.

Steve Stricker showed it was possible to go low by keeping the ball in the fairway. He tore up the tough back nine with a 5-under 30 and, after heading to the front nine, pushed his score to 7 under.

Stricker led by two strokes over Jerry Kelly.

Woods was nowhere to be found. When he headed off to the clubhouse, stopping briefly to chat with the media, he was a colossal 14 strokes off the lead and only four players had put up a worst score.

“I’m not down,” he said. “I’m really angry right now.”

Woods knocked two balls in the water and spent enough time in the bunkers to feel like he was on a beach vacation. The result was predictable: Three double bogeys and five bogeys.

Woods‘ previous worst round in the PGA was a 75, and the only time he posted a higher score in a major was that 81 in the third round of the British Open, played in awful conditions at Muirfield.

That result was stunning because Woods was in his prime, a superb player in the midst of winning 14 major titles.

Now, he looks like just one of the crowd, at best. Woods hasn’t won a major championship since his stirring playoff win at the 2008 U.S. Open _ on a leg that needed major surgery.

Since then, his marriage has fallen apart, his reputation has taken a beating and his game is not the least bit intimidating.

Stricker has never won one of golf’s biggest championships, and the Americans are mired in their longest major drought of the modern era.

It’s early, but maybe he’ll take care of both in one week.

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