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Tiger's putter lets him down at Congressional

Tiger Woods
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Woods shot an opening-round 73.

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Ten years later, Tiger Woods struggled again at the Congressional Country Club.

Woods bogeyed the first two holes of his own tournament on Thursday before rain forced a brief delay. When play resumed, it didn't get any better. By the time his round was over, he had missed a 2-foot tap-in, hit a man in the face with a drive and tossed his putter in frustration at his bag several times.

The last time Woods played a competitive round here, he finished 19th at the 1997 U.S. Open.

His scorecard in the first round of the inaugural AT&T National included seven bogeys in a 3-over round of 73, tied for 77th place and seven shots behind five co-leaders: Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, K.J. Choi, Joe Ogilvie and Stuart Appleby.

Woods putted 34 times, including three three-putts, and he missed every attempt longer than 8 feet.

"It's one of the worst putting rounds I have had in years,'' Woods said. "I'm going to have to figure out something for (Friday) because evidently what I'm doing is not even close to being right. I've got to fix it. I've got to get back in this tournament.''

On the final day of the U.S. Open in 1997, he finished his round and said: "The suffering's over. This golf course beat me up.''

This time, he was ready to beat up his putter.

Woods hadn't played since finishing second at the U.S. Open three weeks ago, and he said he still had the fast greens of Oakmont on his mind on a damp, humid day. He kept leaving his putts short, sometimes well short, frustrating both himself and a large gallery that kept showing its appreciation by shouting out remarks such as: "Hey, Tiger, thanks for bringing golf to D.C.''

Since the U.S. Open, Woods has become a father and had to deal with the last-minute logistics of joining Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to host a PGA Tour event. Even so, he said he wasn't any more nervous than usual at hole No. 1.

"That was the easy part, getting out there and playing,'' Woods said. "The other responsibilities, that's something you don't normally do. Once I get back inside the ropes, I get back in my comfort level, and I felt at peace going out there and competing.''

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