Woods sent drives on the 17th and 18th holes into the water Thursday and was seven shots behind the early leaders midway through the opening round at the Quail Hollow Championship.
Masters champion Phil Mickelson tees off at 12:50 p.m.
Woods is playing his second PGA Tour event this season and hoped to build on a tie for fourth at the Masters three weeks ago.
Things looked promising when Woods, off a rousing welcome from a chilly, early morning crowd, hit a near perfect tee shot on the 10th and birdied his opening birdie.
Then Woods could barely keep anything straight.
A drive into the left rough on the 12th hole led to a bogey. He saved par from near a holly tree on the 15th.
Woods' water world began on the picturesque, challenging par 3, 17th hole. Woods' ball sailed into the water, his second try stuck to the green but he could not make the 30-footer left to save par.
Woods' problems continued on the par-4 closing hole when his drive ended up in a creek along the left side. He came up short of the green after the penalty stroke, then chipped to three feet for a bogey that dropped him to 3-over par at the turn.
That was well back of morning leaders Anthony Kim and Bo Van Pelt at 4-under par.
This is Woods' first tournament since the Masters, his 2010 debut that followed a five-month hiatus and ensuing sex scandal.