GULLANE, Scotland (AP) -- Tiger Woods began the day by hitting an iron deep into the knee-high rough of the Muirfield links. He ended it knowing he will have to putt better if he is to have a chance at golf's Grand Slam.
Battling a balky putter and problems figuring out the speed of the greens, Woods managed an opening 1-under 70 Thursday on a day that was ripe for scoring in the opening round of the British Open.
The game's greatest player uncharacteristically left several putts short of the hole and lipped out three others. Clearly unhappy with his missed chances, Woods needed 33 putts for the round.
"It is frustrating, yes, but it's OK," Woods said. "Sometimes they just don't go in. But if you keep hitting good putts like I did today, they'll eventually start going in."
Woods not only was three shots off the pace of early leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, who was still on the course, but also lost to both his playing partners. England's Justin Rose and Shigeki Maruyama of Japan both shot 68s.
Also in with 68 were veterans Des Smyth of Ireland and 1985 Open champion Sandy Lyle of Scotland. The 44-year-old Lyle birdied his last three holes.
Woods found himself in trouble even before the huge crowd had a chance to cheer him on, hitting his first shot some 20 yards right of the fairway into the heather next to the media tent.
He backed off the tee shot a moment earlier, after a photographer clicked his camera early. Irritated with the distraction, Woods failed to compose himself and launched the 2-iron way off to the right.
Shigeki Maruyama reacted after picking up a birdie on the 9th green.
"I wasn't as focused on my target as I should have been," Woods said. "It was a terrible shot."
Woods first managed to find the ball, then somehow slashed it onto the fairway some 100 yards from the green. From there, he hit a wedge to 10 feet and made the putt for par.
It would be one of the few bright moments for Woods on the greens, where he missed a number of makeable birdie putts within 15 feet and 3-putted for bogey on the fifth hole.
Despite hitting three tee shots into the heather, Woods reached 14 greens in regulation, but could not take advantage of his birdie opportunities.
"We're not used to playing greens this slow," he said.
On a calm day where the sun occasionally peeked out and scoring conditions were ideal, Muirfield showed it would not be too easy. Players battled their way out of the rough and bunkers, with Sergio Garcia needing two shots to get out of one pot bunker.
It was clear early that this Open would be far different from the U.S. Open that Woods won last month to take his second major of the year.
Instead of the boisterous crowds yelling comments at players, the fans at Muirfield offered only polite applause. When Woods hit his shot out of the heather on the first hole, one fan murmurred, "Lovely shot."
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