JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Steve Stricker had a shot at history and Tiger Woods made some of his own.
Just not the kind he wanted.
What a wild first day at the PGA Championship.
Stricker missed a 10-foot birdie putt at his final hole Thursday, just a hair away from becoming the first player to shoot 62 in a major championship. He had no complaints, though, about settling for a 7-under score and a two-shot lead after the opening-round lead at Atlanta Athletic Club.
"I realized it was for 62 but didn't realize it was for history," Stricker said. "I hit a good putt. It just didn't go in. All in all, a good day."
For Woods, a miserable one. Seemingly spending as much time in water and sand as he did on the green stuff, Woods returned to the major scene with a major thud -- a 77 that was his worst round ever at the PGA.
A 15th major title? Forget about it.
Woods will need a major turnaround just to make the cut.
Beyond Stricker and Woods, there was Rory McIlroy banging his hand on an ill-advised shot off a tree root, Ryo Ishikawa spending so much time in the water he needed a snorkel, and two patched-up greens caused by mowers gone wild.
Stricker showed it was possible to go low by keeping the ball in the fairway. He tore up the tough back nine with a 5-under 30 and played a bogey-free round.
It was the 11th time a player has shot 63 in the year's final major, and the 25th time overall.
"I really had no expectations coming into today's round," the 44-year-old Stricker said. "I didn't make too many birdies the first three days during the practice rounds. I got off to a good start, and it kind of got me going."
McIlroy, the U.S. Open champion, got off to a painful start, taking an ill-advised swing at his ball resting against a tree root on the third hole.
He let the 7-iron fall from his hands as soon as he struck the ball, and flexed his wrist in obvious pain. He walked to the next hole holding an ice compress on his arm. Finally, at the fifth, he was checked out by PGA Tour physical therapist Jeff Hendra.
Apparently reassured that he couldn't hurt it any worse, McIlroy played on. He had the wrist taped up to provide extra support and managed to grind out an even-par 70.
Stricker has never won one a major -- he's 0-for-52 -- and the Americans are mired in their longest major drought of the modern era.
It's early, but maybe he'll take care of both in the same week.
Stricker amazingly made birdies at both the 15th -- the longest par-3 on the course -- and the 18th, a lengthy par-4 that has water hugging the left side of the fairway and guarding the front of the green.
The Americans sure need a boost. They haven't won a major since Phil Mickelson triumphed at the 2010 Masters, coming up short at six in a row. During that span, Northern Ireland has captured three championships, South Africa two and Germany one.
Stricker is the highest-ranked American in the world rankings, a spot that used to be controlled by Woods. Not anymore.
Woods knocked two balls in the water and spent enough time in the bunkers to feel like he was on a beach vacation. The result was predictable: three double bogeys and five bogeys.
He headed to the clubhouse 14 strokes down.
"I'm not down," Woods said. "I'm really angry right now."