FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Whether due to illness or inactivity, Tiger Woods was not sharp in his return to competitive golf Thursday. Making him feel worse was playing alongside Brooks Koepka, who tied a PGA Championship record with a 63 at Bethpage Black.
Woods shot 2-over 72 to finish nine strokes back of Koepka, the defending champion, in his first tournament since winning the Masters last month.
And most of what kept the score from being under par were the kinds of things that suffer due to lack of attention, such as lag putting and wedge play.
Woods made two double bogeys and had three greens where he three-putted. He also had his first-ever eagle at Bethpage Black.
"It wasn't as clean as I'd like to have it for sure,'' said Woods, 43, who finished second to Koepka at last year's PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis. "Didn't get off to a very good start. It was a good drive and ended up in a bad spot, and I compounded the problem with trying to use the backboard behind the hole and missing a putt I should have made.
"And then I found my way back around, got it under par for the day, and let a couple slip away with a couple bad putts and a couple mistakes at the end.''
It was Woods' first competitive round since winning the Masters on April 14, and he only played nine holes at Bethpage this week after visiting for a full day on May 8. Woods had planned to play nine holes Wednesday but never came to Bethpage.
"I wasn't feeling that good yesterday, so I decided to stay home and rest,'' Woods said. "I got a little sick so I decided to stay home.''
Woods said there were no issues with his back or his fitness, and he made no excuses over the layoff between starts.
"No, not at all,'' Woods said. "I just didn't take care of my opportunities there.''
Starting on the par-4 10th that measured 505 yards, Woods hit a good tee shot that missed the fairway by a yard but forced him to layup. From there, he hit a wedge shot over the green, leading to just the fourth double bogey to open a major championship in 76 rounds.
He also made a double at the par-3 17th when his tee shot was plugged in a bunker. Still, he blasted out to 30 feet, then three-putted.
He got on a roll after the turn, birdieing the first and second holes and making a 30-foot eagle putt at the fourth. But he then bogeyed three of the next four holes, also sloppy -- two three putts and a poor chip that led to another bogey.
"The golf course is playing tough,'' Woods said of the 7,459-yard layout. "It's not that hard to make bogeys out here, but it's hard to make birdies. And I thought it was going to be hard to get the ball close to the holes. When I had a few opportunities there with short irons, I played aggressively and was able to get them in there where I had makeable putts, and otherwise 30, 40 feet away and move on.''
After making his eagle putt to get to 1 under, Woods had climbed to a tie for fifth, but he was outside of the top 50 as afternoon play continued. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens but needed 31 putts.
Meanwhile, Koepka hit 9 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, but took just 25 putts. He didn't make a bogey -- the only player in the morning wave without a score worse than par. His 63 set a course record.
"I think it was probably the highest score [Koepka] could have shot,'' Woods said. "He played well, but I think he left a few out there with a couple of putts he missed. It easily could have been a couple better.''