PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The last two years, Tiger Woods was gone before The Players Championship ended because of injuries.
This time, it might be from his golf.
The TPC Sawgrass got the best of Woods again on Thursday when he couldn't give himself birdie chances with a wedge in his hand, had only one birdie on the par 5s and wound up with a 2-over 74.
Woods once went nearly eight years without missing the cut. Now he's in danger of missing the cut for the second straight week.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"It certainly wasn't the most positive start," Woods said. "Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in the foot on the very next hole. Just one of those days."
Woods is a notoriously slow starter on the Stadium Course. In his 15th year at The Players Championship, he has yet to break 70 in the opening round. In this case, however, conditions were ideal for scoring under warm sunshine, with the wind not picking up until the middle of the round.
Ian Poulter opened with a 65, and 13 other players from the morning wave shot in the 60s. Martin Laird, playing in tougher conditions in the afternoon, shared the lead at 7-under 65 and was the only player without a bogey in the opening round. He made birdie on his final hole to catch Poulter.
Woods was never under par at any time in his round, and he traded bogeys with birdies around the turn. From a fairway bunker on the 15th, he pulled it left of a bunker and took two shots to reach the green. After a birdie on the island-green 17th, Woods was in the fairway on the 18th when he came up short and to the right, leading to another bogey.
"I just didn't score," Woods said. "It was frustrating in the sense that my good shots ended up in bad spots, and obviously, my bad shots ended up in worse spots."
Woods will need a good round Friday to simply make the cut.
Poulter and Laird were a shot ahead of Blake Adams, with Ben Crane and Kevin Na another shot behind. The 11 players at 68 included Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Ben Curtis and FedEx champion Bill Haas. There were 27 players who shot in the 60s, and more than half the field broke par.
Rory McIlroy, the world No. 1, was 2 under for his round until coming up just short of the island-green 17th and making double bogey. He wound up with a 72, while Phil Mickelson had a 71 in his first round after being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Lee Westwood had a 71, irritated only because of seven birdies on his card.
Velasco birdies 9 holes
SANTO DA SERRA, Madeira Islands — Alvaro Velasco of Spain shot an 8-under 64 Thursday to lead after the opening round of the Madeira Islands Open. Oliver Wilson of England had six birdies in a 66, joining five others behind Velasco. Velasco's 64 included nine birdies — four straight from the ninth hole — and one bogey.