AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Maybe the thing about Jack Nicklaus that motivates Tiger Woods the most is not what he won, but what he said.
"You can't turn the switch on and off," Woods said. "Jack was probably the best at that. I always remember reading that quote. He says, 'I've never turned the switch on and off. I've always had it on."'
Woods was on in the first round of the NEC Invitational on Thursday, even if he felt a little off. Whatever the case, he had a 6-under 64 at Firestone Country Club and finished the first round one stroke ahead of Jim Furyk.
Just by watching Woods, one might have guessed he was struggling to keep it around par. No one could mistake the desire, though, or even suspect that Woods was suffering a letdown from winning the PGA Championship just four days before in a draining playoff.
"I drove it terrible on the back," he said. "I was able to keep it on the property, which is good. That's the extent of it. I didn't hit the ball very well coming in, and consequently, I didn't shoot the scores I wanted to shoot."
What a pity.
All Woods did was go 7 under on the first 12 holes, flirt with the course-record 61 -- or better -- and wind up with his lowest first-round score of the year. All everyone else could do was wonder.
"Get used to seeing Tiger's name up there every week," said Darren Clarke, who beat Woods in the Match Play Championship final in February and was among six players at 66. "We're all going to have to play very well again and see what happens."
What's left for Woods? More victories? More money?
In one of the few occasions where a golfer actually sounds like a football player -- or maybe even a construction worker -- Woods showed why talent alone hasn't taken him to new heights in the game. He works hard, and he cares about every shot.
"The goal of the week is to win," he said. "When I'm not playing is the time to rest. When I'm playing this week, it's time to work, and I'm trying to get myself in position to win come Sunday afternoon."
He got off to a good start.
Sure, he scowled at himself after his pitching wedge from 116 yards on the first hole wound up 20 feet behind the pin. All it took was one hole for Woods to pick up where he left off. He hit a 6-iron from 206 yards out on the par-5 second hole within 9 inches for a tap-in eagle.
He was in the lead after five holes and never gave it back.
The only lapse was when he got in trouble off the tee -- a par save from the rough on No. 9, another save from a shot off a tree root on the 13th, and then a couple of mistakes from which he couldn't recover.
On the par-5 16th, he put his wedge over the green into a bunker, barely got out of the sand and had to make a 6-footer for bogey. Then on the 18th, he went into the rough again, and his second shot hit a tree, leading to another bogey.
With that, Woods went straight to the range and spent 30 minutes working out the flaws.
Mallon posts record 62
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A 15-foot putt was all it took for Meg Mallon to know she could do great things.
Mallon, still a bit groggy after her trip back from the Women's British Open, tied her personal best and set a tournament record with a 10-under-par 62 in the first round of the Oldsmobile Classic on Thursday.
"I shot 9-under here one Sunday, so obviously I feel comfortable here," Mallon said. "But I also know there are a lot of players who can do that here. I'd really like to do it again in the last round."
She was only two strokes ahead of 1996 winner Michelle McGann heading into the second round Friday at Walnut Hills Country Club.
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The last time Peter Jacobsen won on the PGA Tour, President Clinton was serving his first term in office and Tiger Woods was playing at Stanford.
But the Oregon native finds himself tied for the lead with Scott McCarron, a stroke ahead of Jean Van de Velde and two others after one round of the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
Jacobsen, whose Portland-based company manages the tournament, and McCarron, a hometown favorite, each finished the first round Thursday without a bogey at 6-under par 66.
"There's nothing like being in the hunt," said Jacobsen, who has career winnings of more than $5 million, but hasn't won in five years. I had a great year in 1995, but it's sort of been downhill since. You can quote me on this: Golf is a hard game."
Jacobsen, 46, earned more than $1 million that year, winning on successive weekends at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Buick Invitational.
On Thursday, he made one 60-foot putt for birdie and hit a 2-iron to the fringe of his 626-yard last hole before dropping an 8-foot putt for birdie. He was in a group with tournament favorite Sergio Garcia, who finished at even par.
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