Atlanta (USA): Arjun Atwal made yet another horrendous start to his Major golf championship campaign with an eight-over 78 in the opening round of the PGA Championships at the Atlanta Athletic Club here.

He is now 138th and way off a cut-line that looks likely at around three-over at the 7,467-yard course, which is the longest par-70 course in Major history.

The leader was Steve Stricker, who came within a whisker of the lowest ever round in a Major and then finished at 63, and he is now the 11th player in Major history to have shot a 63.

World number one Luke Donald opened the campaign with a 70 and world number two Lee Westwood started with a 71 and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel shot 71, but British Open champion Darren Clarke fell at 78.

Atwal, who defends his Wyndham Championships title next week, was fine through the front nine with a bogey and a birdie for an even-par turn.

Then came the disaster in the form of a triple bogey on 11th, a bogey on the 12th and then two more doubles on par-three 15th and 17th for an eight-over 43 on the back nine and a card of 78 that virtually put paid to his chances of making the weekend action.

Atwal's previous Major campaign at the Augusta Masters also ended before the weekend with rounds of 80 and 71.

Atwal was only a shot worse than his friend and 14-time Major winner, Tiger Woods, who began with three birdies in first five holes and then faded to a miserable seven-over 77 and was in danger of missing the cut.

Woods, starting from the back-nine, birdied the 10th, 12th and 14th, but then began his tale of woes. He had three double bogeys on 15th, 18th and sixth and five other bogeys.

It was Woods' second worst ever score in a Major, eclipsed only by 81 at Muirfield in 2002 in wet and windy conditions.

US Open champion Rory McIlroy, one of the big favourites at this event, badly hurt his wrist while trying to blast a 7-iron through a tree root.

He even contemplated quitting and kept wringing his wrist in agony through the rest of the round. He still managed an even-par 70 and on most occasions he was unable to finish with both hands on the club.

Jerry Kelly had a career-best 65 in the PGA Championship but was still two shots behind Stricker. Former PGA champion Shaun Micheel was at 66, and Scott Verplank, coming with a wrist injury, shot a 67.

McIlroy, playing with an ice compress on his wrist, had an MRI after the round and decided to continue the second round. But if it still hurts he might withdraw.

Japanese wonder-kid Ryo Ishikawa, 19, and fourth at WGC-Bridgestone last week, put six balls in the water in a nightmarish 85.

Another star shooting in the 80s was former US Open champion, Lucas Glover.