(CNN) -- He was in, then he was out, then he was in again.
The build up to this year's PGA Championship in Valhalla had been dominated, as almost every major over the past decade has, by Tiger Woods.
This time the speculation concerned the state of his back after an injury in last weekend's WGC Bridgestone Invitational saw him pull out of the tournament mid-round.
Woods cut a forlorn figure Sunday as he hobbled off the course clutching his lower back. He was barely able to take his shoes off as speculation swirled that Woods had suffered a recurrence of the injury that saw him undergo surgery three months ago.
Yet, four days later, Woods was teeing off, pain free, following a miraculous recovery.
But the four-time PGA Championship winner didn't get off to a good start.
Teeing off at the 10th, Woods was one over par at the turn before eventually finishing the round with a three over par 74.
It was just the second time he'd shot over 71 in seven PGA Championship appearances.
"I didn't play as well as I wanted to, and I didn't get a putt to the hole," he told the PGA's official website. "That's not a good combo."
Woods then headed for more treatment on his back. "I'm going to go ... make sure this thing is nice and loose for tomorrow," he added.
Two men who had no problems with the course were early clubhouse leaders Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell, who both shot a six under par 65. Jim Furyk, who finished second last year, was just one shot behind.
It was a happy return to the tournament for Englishman Westwood. He saw a real chance of winning last year's PGA Championship evaporate with an abysmal final round 76 at Oak Hill. He's joined at the top of the leaderboard by unheralded American Chappell
All eyes will now be on world number one Rory McIlroy, fresh from victory in the Open and the WGC Invitational, who is chasing his fourth major.