Spieth tries to stay close to Koepka at PGA Championship


Though Koepka's father, Bob, used to tease his high school classmates for earning letterman jackets for golf because, he said, "I didn't think it was a sport", Woods helped make golf a viable option for Brooks and other versatile young athletes who lived in the gym and preferred to look more like National Football League strong safeties.

It was only one round, but enough to make the Masters that Woods won last month feel more nostalgic than a sign of more to come. "I think it's deceiving to look at first two days versus last two because I think I just got away with stuff random days that happened to be coupled together". How much of that is true or imagined is up for debate, but there is no question the victor of three of the past seven major championships uses every perceived slight for motivation. Fowler and Spieth both bounced back from double bogeys on 10 to finish the first 18 holes under par, including birdies on 18.

At times overlooked even after winning three majors in the last two years, Koepka gave thousands of fans a round to remember Thursday morning at brawny Bethpage Black with a record-setting start to his title defense in the PGA Championship. I couldn't let my head get down. And there were tournaments where I started, the Masters, one where I started really poorly on nine holes.

The 43-year-old U.S. superstar opened with a double bogey at 10, added another at the par-3 17th and despite a 30-foot eagle putt at the par-5 fourth was unable to challenge Koepka after bogeys on three of the next four holes. That helps explain why he has not had a top-10 finish since he tied for ninth at Carnoustie a year ago.

"No, not at all, " Woods said. "It hasn't felt that good in a long time", Koepka said.

"This golf course you can't (force it)".

Woods bogeyed three of the next four holes before Koepka finished his bogey-free round with a 33-foot birdie. He hasn't won a golf tournament since the British Open in July of 2017, a drought he's attributed to his swing drifting higher than the form he used to win 11 tournaments before his 24th birthday. It's the same cut rule as The Open Championship.

Koepka is in a group with Woods, but he doesn't appear to care about the pressure.

Woods, who has topped the rankings for a record 683 weeks, also could become world number one for the first time since March 2013 with a victory on the same course where he captured the 2002 US Open. 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.

The 43-year-old quickly recovered from the setback, though, as he carded pars at his next two holes to remain at two over par. "But all I can do is do my best, I think". "And if I'm able to put some good work in tomorrow, I will be in contention on Sunday".

"I love playing over here", he said.