A combination of the wind and PGA National made this a rude welcome to the Florida swing.
Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and George McNeill shared the early lead at 3-under 67 on Thursday, and they had to work hard for it in gusts that approached 30 mph on a course that is difficult even in calm conditions.
Phil Mickelson didn't lose any momentum from his runner-up finish at Pebble Beach two weeks ago. He was tied for the lead at the turn, only to drop two shots and miss a pair of good birdie chances. Even so, he opened with a 69.
Lingmerth was the steadiest of the early leaders, making only one bogey.
Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler were among the late starters.