AKRON, Ohio — Not even one of his favorite courses is much use to Tiger Woods these days.
Facing the two easiest holes to start his round Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational, he hit tee shots into the trees and made bogeys. On the course where he has won seven times in his past nine appearances, he posted 4-over 74 for his highest score at Firestone.
That put him 10 shots behind leader Bubba Watson at the World Golf Championship event, the largest first-round deficit Woods has faced since he returned at the Masters.
And it didn't get any better when he finished. As he took the 100-yard walk to the scoring trailer, one spectator called out to Woods, "You're washed up, Tiger. Give it up."
Woods, sporting a goatee but rarely a smile, offered no excuses.
"Only thing I did good is I kept my patience out there," he said. "I did not execute the shots that I wanted to execute, didn't shape the ball the way I wanted to shape it, and certainly did not putt well."
Watson made his debut at Firestone by running off four straight birdies on the back nine and making a long putt on the final hole for 6-under 64 and a two-shot lead over a group that included Masters champion Phil Mickelson and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
"I knew (the course) was going to be tough, but I just putted really well, hit good iron shots and made it look a little bit easy," Watson said.
For Mickelson, this is his sixth tournament in which he has a chance to unseat Woods as No. 1 in the world. Mickelson could do it by finishing as low as fourth. Woods would have to finish out of the top 44.
Said Mickelson, "It was a good day in that I got off to a poor start and was a couple over par and then was able to turn it around and shoot 30 on my back nine, which is the front, to get in good position."
PGA: Rory Sabbatini and Omar Uresti shot 7-under 65s and were tied for the lead in the rain-delayed first round of the Turning Stone Resort Championship at Verona, N.Y. Gavin Hall, a 15-year-old from Pittsford, N.Y., who shot 10-under 62 last month to set a U.S. Junior Amateur record, shot 6-over 78 in his tour debut. Because of a weather delay of nearly three hours, 24 players did not complete the first round.
LPGA: The season-ending Tour Championship will be played Dec. 2-5 at the Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando. It will feature 120 tour pros competing for a $1.5 million purse. The tour, based in Daytona Beach, had three Florida events in 2008, but it didn't have any last year.