Tim Dahlberg: Tiger Woods close, but mistakes costly again at British Open

Rory Mc Ilroy faces a tough task to end the US dominance of the majors

Rory Mc Ilroy faces a tough task to end the US dominance of the majors

The three-time Open champion, who competed in the event for the first time since 2015, downplayed its impact on the round but said his neck has "been bugging me for a while".

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND-Kevin Kisner took advantage of light winds and warm temperatures to shoot a 5-under 66 and take the early lead in the British Open, where defending champion Jordan Spieth was also in the mix on Thursday.

All four of golf's biggest prizes are now held by United States players.

Tiger Woods raised eyebrows before he even teed off at The Open Championship when he showed up to the practice range with Kinesio tape on his neck.

The club in Angus, Scotland has hosted The Open seven times before this year, in 1931, 1937, 1953, 19678, 1975, 1999 and 2007.

But on Thursday, during the opening nine holes, he looked like a man totally in control of his game - taming a fiery course with a masterclass of course management. "The greens were good speed doesn't get away from you".

His start couldn't have been much better as he made birdies on the first two holes with putts from 10 and 15 feet. He ran off three straight birdies on the back nine.

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"It's been bugging me for a while", said Woods of his neck complaint. When you can hit a lot of fairways out here, that's a big key. The golf course was sweet.

"I played better than what the score indicates", he told reporters because I had two eight irons into both par 5s today, and I end up with par on both", he told a throng of reporters. I feel like any time I'm around the green I'm going to make 4 or par at the worst.

Kisner began the day slow, hitting a bogey on the fifth hole after four opening pars. Instead he made a great shot out of the bunker onto the green and then drained a 30-footer for a finishing birdie. He shot a 71, good for par for the day. "It's a great feeling when those putts are going in".

Finau's drives averaged 348 yards off the tee due in large part to the hard yellow fairways that allowed the ball to roll and roll. I think with some of the spots I hit it off the tee I would take it.

"Different players are going to have a different way to see how they're going to play this golf course, " McIlroy said.

The stark reality is that Woods is now ranked 71 in the world, won the last of his 14 majors a decade ago and has not triumphed at any tournament since 2013.

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