A fifth PGA Championship title looks unlikely for Tiger Woods after he opened this year’s tournament with a first-round score of 74 (four over).
And the 15-time major-winner’s outing wasn’t aided by a cameraman who had seemingly overstepped his mark at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Or at least golf legend Woods felt as much and repeatedly asked his admirer to ‘give him some breathing space’.
Woods set the tone early by imploring the camera person in question to “back off” on his very first hole of the tournament. The operator didn’t appear to comply considering the picture didn’t appear to change or zoom out at all, but Woods was adamant to find his range.
"Give me some space please!"
Tiger Woods was unhappy with the cameraman getting too close whilst walking from the first tee at the PGA Championship pic.twitter.com/VQ3emFrZ8P
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) May 19, 2022
The 46-year-old was initially polite in his request and even used the word ‘please’ on several occasions. The plea to “back off” had a slightly more exhausted tone, however, as tensions seemed high from the outset.
Understandably so after he was placed in a Thursday trio alongside Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. McIlroy piled the pressure high after heading into the clubhouse as leader on 65 (five under par), while Spieth will hope for improvement after carding 72.
Excitement levels were high after Woods confirmed he would be playing at Southern Hills this week. Expectations are considerably more muted, however, considering this is only his second tournament appearance since returning from a serious car crash last year.
Woods suffered major injuries in his February 2021 crash and spent 14 months out of action prior to his comeback at the 2021 Masters last month. He impressed en route to a 47th-place finish, though he may struggle to make the cut in Tulsa.
One figure not present at Southern Hills is last year’s champion, Phil Mickelson, who continues to be linked with a breakaway Saudi competition. Woods’ old rival, Lefty, had appeared in every PGA Championship since 1992 prior to this year.
Despite a rocky outing on Thursday, few players on the PGA Tour boast the same potential to rescue a sub-par start. Golf fans will watch in their droves as the former world No. 1 targets a turnaround on Friday, though the camera crew may be wise to keep more of a distance.