Nobody wanted to lead on Thursday at the 2018 Players Championship, it appeared. After multiple golfers (including Si Woo Kim, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Cantlay) touched 7 under, nobody stayed there and now we are left with a six-way tie atop the leaderboard after Round 1 at TPC Sawgrass.
Maybe the most impressive full round of the day came early as Dustin Johnson shot a bogey-free 66 to grab a share of the early clubhouse lead with Webb Simpson.
DJ was 6 under through 11 before parring in.
Rory McIlroy, who somehow had the best score of the six marquee players in the two biggest groups, finished outside the top 100 in strokes gained off the tee (mostly because he hit it in the water on No. 18) and couldn't ever really get going. He had moments but he needs a big Friday afternoon to really get into the mix.
It was going fine until he found the water on No. 18. Tiger Woods (E) struggled mightily off the tee on Thursday, which is a bit disconcerting considering the fact that you don't have to hit driver on this course as much as you do on most courses. Woods lost a stroke to the field off the tee and hit just five of 14 fairways. He'll have some work to do on Friday to make it to the weekend.
The entire afternoon featured group struggled, and Rickie Fowler (+2) was not exempt. He was playing fine until he got to No. 17 late in the day. He came up short there, made double bogey and now sits well back of the leaders. His group with Woods and Mickelson combined to shoot 9 over.
Jordan Spieth (+3), the three-time major winner's scorecard was a rainbow of sadness today. He opened bogey-bogey-eagle-double bogey, and it didn't get a lot better from there. If he misses the cut on Friday, that will be four in a row for him at this event.