Record start for Koepka

With the New York crowd cheering him on Phil Mickelson opens PGA Championship with a 69

Koepka and Woods embraced after the latter's first major victory in 11 years, one of many congratulations offered by Woods' peers.

It will feel quite different Thursday morning when the first round of the 2019 PGA Championship opens with damp conditions and temperatures in the mid-50s. So when someone suggested Spieth looked freer than he has lately, he smiled and said, "When you're making everything you look at, anybody is going to walk around feeling pretty free".

McIlroy could certainly not say the same as he limped to the turn in 40 after starting his round double bogey, bogey, double bogey, but the four-time major victor produced a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth and picked up another shot on the eighth.

Woods double-bogeyed his first hole Thursday and was at the same two-over 17 holes later.

Reigning PGA Championship victor Brooks Koepka started extremely strong in his bid to defend his title on Thursday at Bethpage Black. "My teammates told me it's not in my genetics, but I'd like to prove them wrong". At last month's Masters, after delivering the most memorable moment of his golfing life, the 43-year-old Woods became what he had been in his dominant prime: the most recognizable and revered athlete on the planet. He slipped up shortly after, bogeying three of the next four holes, where he missed two straight eight foot putts for par.

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"The thing I get from this kid is he's got a lot of confidence, and nothing bothers him", said Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava. Woods, a four-time victor of the Wanamaker Trophy, will have his work cut out for him on one of the toughest, longest courses there is. Woods hit over the green, then faced a downhill chip that left him with an 8-foot putt for bogey.

"Yeah, what stood out to me watching him yesterday was just the way he carried himself like 'I'm better than you, '" he said. Considering Koepka's record in the majors - three wins and a runner-up in his last seven majors - this felt shorter. He's the first player to use a cart in a major since Casey Martin at the 2012 US Open.

England's Rose, third-ranked Koepka and fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy could all overtake Johnson with a victory, with McIlroy and Johnson set for afternoon starts and Rose opening with a bogey at the 10th. Woods was paired with Koepka and Francesco Molinari (also +2) in the first round and will be with the same group on Friday.

"I think it was probably the highest score [Koepka] could have shot, " Woods said. And I thought it was going to be hard to get the ball close to the holes. Asked how Koepka remains so calm, Elliott said, "I don't know". "If I'm able to put some good work in tomorrow, then I will be in contention on Sunday".

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