Tiger shoots 71 in first round

Updated: July 16, 2009, 8:05 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- If Tiger Woods is to win the 138th Open Championship, he will have to do what he was unable to do at either of this year's first two majors -- rally.

It was another TW from Stanford -- five-time Open champion Tom Watson -- who turned back the clock while shooting a 5-under-par 65. Ben Curtis and Kenichi Kuboya also shot 65. Miguel Jimenez leads the tournament with a 64.

Woods, meanwhile, was not even able to keep pace with the players in his group, shooting 1-over 71 while England's Lee Westwood and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa shot 2-under 68.

[+] EnlargeTiger Woods
David Cannon/Getty ImagesTiger Woods said mistakes cost him a better score at the British Open on Thursday.

"I certainly made a few mistakes out there today," said Woods, who has won three Open Championships and 14 major titles overall. "Realistically, I probably should have shot about 1 or 2 under par today. But I made a few mistakes, and consequently I'm at 1 over. ... I hit a couple of shots to the right today, and three-ripped [putted] a hole from about 15 feet, and I didn't take advantage of 17 [a par-5]. So there you have it."

All of this came on a day that was relatively easy for scoring, at least by Open standards.

"She was defenseless today," said Watson, who won the Open here in an epic showdown with Jack Nicklaus in 1977 and won the Senior British Open at Turnberry in 2003. "Obviously, the golf course played with no wind, and it was an easy test, if you have an easy test in an Open Championship."

Woods made three birdies and four bogeys, saving his worst for last when he bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes and failed to birdie the par-5 17th.

For the day, he hit just 8 of 14 fairways, despite using mostly irons off tees. He did hit 12 of 18 greens and needed 30 putts.

And he has put himself in familiar position, at least as far as the majors are concerned. Woods was 5 strokes back after a first-round 70 at the Masters and 10 back after a 74 at the U.S. Open. At both tournaments, Woods finished tied for sixth, 4 strokes out of a playoff after having won in his previous start.

Woods came into the Open after a victory at the AT&T National, his third of the year.

"The misses I had were the same shots I was hitting on the range," Woods said. "So I need to go work on that and get it squared away for tomorrow."

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com