Whenever one of the PGA Tour’s four majors roll around, the talk inevitably turns to whether or not American and former No. 1 player in the world Tiger Woods will snap his seven-year major-less streak.
It’s a testament to Woods’ crossover appeal and the way in which he rose to stardom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He crushed the rest of the competition to claim 14 majors in the span of 11 years, and even though Woods’ game has fallen fans still hope to see a glimpse of that dominant form for at least four more rounds over one weekend.
Alas, that won’t be the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay this year.
The 39-year-old Woods fired off 10-over 80 in the first round of the 115th iteration of America’s major to rank third-to-last on the current leaderboard, and 15 strokes back of leaders Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.
Woods’ odds to win the U.S. Open for the fourth time in his career, which opened at 50/1, have now plummeted to 1,500/1, via Sportsbook.ag.
With eight bogeys and one double-bogey, it proved to be the worst round at the U.S. Open in Woods' career and it’s a growing, unfortunate trend. Woods even lost control of his club while trying to dig out of the rough on the eighth hole and sent it flying roughly 20 yards behind him.
According to Golf Channel, Woods posted one round in any tournament with a score of 80 or worse between 1996 and 2014, and has done so three times this year alone. Now tied for 152nd place it’s the first time Woods has ever been outside the top 150 and now player has ever shot 80 or worse in the opening round and won the U.S. Open.
Chambers Bay itself does represent a significant challenge, and has been dubbed as perhaps the toughest U.S. Open course in history. Covering over 7,900 yards, the long course is further complicated by the Pacific coast winds that roar off the Puget Sound as well as the deep and wide fairways and unkind greens.
But in the past, Woods would have had the confidence to see a course like that as just another challenge. Based on his comments after the crushing round, Woods would tell reporters that he’s still working out the kinks on his new swing and he does sound optimistic.
"I know when I do it right, it's so easy,” Woods said. “It just feels easy to control, easy to do it, easy to hit all my shots. I just need to do it more often and build from there.
“I'm trying as hard as I can to do it, and for some reason I just can't get the consistency that I'd like to have out there. I've gone through tough phases in each one of these things and I've come out OK on the other side."
With injuries to his back and knees over the last few years, Woods has changed up his swing several times to relieve pressure on those areas, but the results haven’t been there.
Though the cut is presently unknown, it seems inevitable that Woods will miss it this year. He tees off at 12:28 p.m. ET Friday afternoon.