Tiger Woods clearly felt a little claustrophobic to start the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday … ’cause the golf legend asked a cameraman to give him some space THREE times on the tourney’s opening hole.

Woods had just teed off at the Southern Hills Championship Course in Tulsa, Oklahoma … when a man holding a giant camera approached him to record him as he walked down the fairway to his ball.

Hot microphones picked up Woods almost immediately asking the guy to scram.

"Would you mind giving me some breathing space?" Tiger asked. "Please?"

The camera guy clearly didn’t move too much — which caused Woods to ask again more sternly, "Would you mind giving me some breathing space, please?"

Finally, after a few more feet side-by-side, Woods asked, "Could you back off a little bit and give me some breathing space?"

Apparently, the camera guy finally got the memo — and moved far enough away from the 46-year-old.

The interaction was awkward … but it apparently didn’t bother Woods too much, ’cause the second shot he hit was a dart — and he later went on to birdie the hole.

Woods — playing in just his second major event since his horrific February 2021 car crash — is having an up-and-down day in general on the course … he’s +2 right now with just two holes remaining.