I just didn't keep it together at the end, says Tiger Woods

Carrie Guzman
May 18, 2019

Both Koepka and playing partner Woods said his round could have been better, perhaps below the record 62 fired by South Africa's Branden Grace in the 2017 British Open.

The surprise victor of the 1991 PGA Championship had supporters at every tee and green in the opening round, which he finished at 5-over 75.

Asked if he would be backing Woods to win, Faldo said: "No, no, no".

"So I was freaking out and was telling my wife, 'OK, are we going to open up a Korean barbeque restaurant now?'" You know what you're going to get when you play with him. Tiger stunned last summer's PGA Championship victor by waiting for him to complete his final round to congratulate him on a job well done; Koepka returned the favor at Augusta.

Former Masters champion Danny Willett had birdied the first two holes and bounced back from a bogey on the third, a 221-yard par three playing into the wind, to birdie the par-five fourth and reach one under par.

Defending champion Koepka, who has won three majors in the past two years, passed the test with flying colors as he tied the course record with a seven-under 63 that many had considered improbable when the day began. "My teammates told me it's not in my genetics, but I'd like to prove them wrong".

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Obviously all the focus this week will surround Woods, who won the Masters back in April. He managed to do so by hitting 14 of 18 greens and holing a couple of ticklish par putts; he needed just 25 putts for the round. "There is no way I can walk it, but I feel like I belong to play because I am a past champion".

"Oh, yeah, I was 4 over through Boston a couple years ago and ended up winning the tournament, and that just sort of came back into my mind after I made that start", he said. Woods, a four-time victor of the Wanamaker Trophy, will have his work cut out for him on one of the toughest, longest courses there is.

It was not, however, a period that saw Woods hit a competitive golf shot as the 43-year-old elected to rest a body that will need more and more breaks as time goes on.

The former world No 1 posted back-to-back birdies from the first and made a 30-foot eagle at the fourth to get into red figures, only to drop three shots in the next four holes and finish nine strokes off the lead. The U.S. Open's cut is the top 60 players including ties. "But I never once thought about the course record or anything".

"That was probably the (worst) score he could have shot today", Woods said. And of the eight previous players to shot 63 in the first round of a major, only two went on to win - Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open and Raymond Floyd in the 1982 PGA Championship. "I did a really good job". "I parred the two par 5s". I'm still trying to get the strength back in my legs.

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