Akron, Ohio: Former World No. 1 Tiger Woods struggled to a one-over par 71 on Friday at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, his first event after an injury layoff of nearly three months.
Woods was on one-under 139 through 36 holes, seven strokes off the pace at Firestone Country Club, a course where he has won seven titles.
The event serves as a tuneup for Woods for next week's PGA Championship at Atlanta, where the 14-time major champion will resume his quest to break the record of 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus.
Woods is playing his first tournament since limping out of the Players Championship in May. His last complete round came at the Masters, where he first suffered the left knee and Achilles injuries that have sidelined him.
Woods showed no sign that he was bothered by the injuries, but he wasn't as sharp on the greens as he would have liked.
"I didn't putt as well as I did yesterday, and consequently, I just never got the round going," Woods said.
With conditions facilitating low scores, Woods had more than 20 players ahead of him on the leaderboard.
He said his biggest problem was judging his distances.
"It's usually my short game, but I have a short-game facility in the backyard, so I can't say that," Woods said of the adjustments he's making after the layoff.
"Here this week, it's been getting the ball the right number. It's just as hot at home, if not hotter. The ball should be flying about the same, but it's not. I'm swinging better, so I've got to get used to new numbers."
Woods, who teed off on 10, bogeyed the par-four 14th from a bunker after his third shot spun back to two feet. After confidently standing over the short putt, he was clearly shocked when it curled around the lip and failed to drop.
At the next hole a tentative chip left him seven feet and he missed the par putt.
He rebounded with back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17, draining a five-footer at 17.
After a bogey and birdie at the fourth and fifth holes, Woods dropped two shots at the par-four sixth, where his shot out of the rough found a bunker behind the green.
He blasted out and through the green and three-putted from 50 feet for double-bogey.
"Today was not very good," Woods said of his putting.
Despite the difficulties of returning to competition in the wake of such a long absence Woods brusquely brushed off the suggestion that his stated goal this week -- to win -- was too ambitious.
"Why show up at a tournament if you're not there to win? There's no reason to come," Woods said.