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Tiger Woods struggles with rough, wrist at U.S. Open

First round won't be completed until Friday because of rain delays. Luke Donald leads at four under through 13 holes.

June 13, 2013|By Teddy Greenstein and Mark Wogenrich
  • Tiger Woods watches his approach shot from the rough at No. 1 during the first round of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on Thursday.
Tiger Woods watches his approach shot from the rough at No. 1 during the first… (David Cannon / Getty Images )

ARDMORE, Pa. — Because of two rain delays, the first round of the U.S. Open won't be completed until Friday morning. Phil Mickelson might not have to tee it up again for another 24 hours.

Enough time to fly back to San Diego?

"I don't want to push it, no," Mickelson said with a tired smile.

Tiger Woods faced a tougher road. He appeared to hurt his left hand after trying to gouge out of the deep rough on the opening hole. He grimaced and shook his left wrist again after hitting a five-wood out of the rough on the fifth hole. He already had three bogeys though five holes before starting to make up ground with a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-four sixth hole.

Woods, however, failed to take advantage on the short stretch of holes in the middle of the round, missing a couple of short birdie putts, and he was shaking his hand again after shots out of the rough on the 10th and the 11th. He was two over for his round and had a four-foot par putt on the 11th when play was stopped for the day.

"I've got a lot of holes to play tomorrow," Woods said. "And, hopefully, I can play a little better than I did today."

Luke Donald was leading at four under through 13 holes, making one last birdie before leaving the course. The first round was to resume at 7:15 a.m. EDT Friday, and the forecast called for drier weather for the rest of the week.

Masters champion Adam Scott, playing with Woods and Rory McIlroy, was three under through 11 holes, while defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson was two under through eight. McIlroy was one under.

Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, with a 69, was the only player aside from Mickelson to finish at under par.

Sergio's day

Sergio Garcia had a quiet opening round, other than getting heckled by a few Philadelphia fans, following up a double bogey with a quad, hitting a Golf Digest writer in the neck with an errant drive and going birdie-eagle to finish with a respectable three-over 73.

His adventure began on the 14th hole, where he lost his footing and duck-hooked his drive out of bounds.

"[Made] par with the second ball," he joked.

Then he said he hit a "terrible" tee shot on 15 that also went out of bounds.

Witnesses reported that one fan piled on by saying, "I'll buy you KFC," in reference to his offensive "fried chicken" line about Woods, and another called out, "Hey, Sergio, pollo frito!"

"There were a couple here and there," Garcia said of the hecklers, "but I felt the people were very nice. Almost all of them were behind me."

Garcia steadied his round with a birdie on No. 1 and an eagle on No. 2, but as Golf Digest's Max Adler tweeted: "Just got nailed in neck by errant Sergio drive on No. 4. We're both hurting."

Offering props

Mickelson has blistered course architects such as Rees Jones (Cog Hill). But Mickelson had nothing but praise for Mike Davis, telling the USGA executive director that Merion is "the best setup" he has seen for a U.S. Open.

"They made the hard holes even harder by moving the tees back," Mickelson said. "I love that because if you're playing well, you're going to be able to make pars and separate yourself from the field. But they didn't trick up the easy holes and take away birdie opportunities."

Wishful thinking

Bubba Watson, who adopted a baby with wife Angie before winning the 2012 Masters, said he appreciated Mickelson flying home for his daughter's eighth-grade graduation.

"If I had a plane," Watson said, "I'd probably do that too."

Too old for this

Because of a Tuesday washout and, well, his age, Jerry Kelly played only one practice round at Merion. That left him "unable to do my normal homework," he said, leading to some uncomfortable swings during an even-par 70.

"I don't play 18 holes the day before a major," said Kelly, 46. "I'm too old for that, sorry."


ESPN's Friday coverage will begin at 5:30 a.m. PDT, a half-hour earlier than originally scheduled. ... Boston sports fan Keegan Bradley turned off his TV after the second overtime in the Bruins-Blackhawks game, opting for sleep in advance of his 7:11 a.m. tee time. He shot a 77. … Boo Weekley hit 13 of 14 fairways and chipped in for eagle but still shot a 75. The culprit — lousy putting. … Kelly said he spent the rain delay watching "The Master." "It's a pretty darn good movie; you should rent it," he said ... Lee Westwood got the full Merion experience. He was three under when his approach on the 12th hit the wicker basket — the signature at Merion, replacing traditional flags — and bounced off the green, leading to a double bogey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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