Tiger Woods
Woods requires an improved second round to ensure he makes the cut at Valhalla.Getty Images/Sam Greenwood

Tiger Woods defied injury to card a three-over round of 74 in the opening round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

The 38 year old declared himself fit for the final major of 2014 on Wednesday despite pulling out of the WGC-Invitational last week with a recurrence of a back problem.

Woods underwent back surgery in April and missed The Masters and The US Open before returning in July and after limping away from the final round at Firestone fears were rife the latest injury would prematurely end his season.

However, the American former No.1 – who will partner Phil Mickelson and Irishman Padraig Harrington for the first two rounds – completed his round seemingly pain-free but faces an uphill task to make the cut for the weekend.

A series of wayward tee-shots undermined his round throughout, with a chip in from off the green on the 16th a rare highlight on a harrowing dayfor the 14-time major winner.

The back nine began with successive dropped shots before a missed birdie chance on the seventh summed up his opening round despite the superb conditions in Kentucky, as dreams of winning a first major since 2008 were all-but extinguished.