Tiger Woods struggles, Phil Mickelson doesn't at Bridgestone Invitational
Defending champion Tiger Woods, right, continued to struggle on the golf course during the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday in Akron, Ohio. Woods, ranked No. 1 in the world and seven-time winner of the event, missed nine of 14 fairways and needed 32 putts at Firestone Country Club as he posted a four-over-par 74, 10 shots off the pace of first-round leader Bubba Watson.
Phil Mickelson is in a four-way tie for second, two shots behind Watson at four-under 66. Also tied for second are Kenny Perry, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell.
Woods, who is tied for 70th in the field of 82 players, was hoping to play his way into an automatic qualifying spot for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He's currently ninth in points, but only the top eight receive an automatic berth. Captain Corey Pavin will then select four more players to complete the team of 12.
"I didn't play well," Woods said after recording six bogeys and two birdies. "Only thing I did well today is I kept my patience out there, grinded all day. That was the best I could have done. It's frustrating because I warmed up well, my practice sessions at home were good and today was not indicative of how I've been playing.
"I was struggling on the greens and didn't hit any good iron shots. Probably hit about two good iron shots all day today. That's definitely not enough."
-- Dan Loumena
Photo credit: Aaron Josefczyk / Reuters