ARDMORE, Pa. – Tiger Woods played his last 7 1/2 holes in 1 over Friday, finishing up a 3-over 73 in the weather-delayed first round of the U.S. Open. That left him six shots off Phil Mickelson’s lead.
“Overall it was not too bad a round,” Woods said afterward. “I certainly had two 3-putts and a boatload of putts or the round could have easily been under par. So that’s good heading into this afternoon.”
When play was suspended Thursday night, Woods had left himself a 3 1/2-footer for par on the 11th green. By the time he returned to the course for the resumption of play at 7:15 a.m. ET, the temperature was in the low-50s, and Woods said he was surprised by how fast the greens had become overnight.
After making that short par putt on 11, Woods flared his drive on the 12th into the thick, 6-inch rough. He advanced the ball only about halfway to the green and eventually made bogey, but perhaps encouragingly he showed no visible signs of discomfort with his left elbow. On at least four occasions Thursday he was seen shaking his left arm after gouging out of the rough.
“It is what it is,” Woods said of the pain. “You move on, and I’ve got to get ready for this next round in a little bit.”
Woods bounced back with a 12-foot birdie putt on 13, but he proceeded to drop another shot on 17, when his tee shot on the long par 3 landed in an awkward spot above the bunker.
This is the sixth time in the last seven years that Woods has opened with an over-par round at the Open. (The lone exception was last year at The Olympic Club, where he opened with 69.) He hasn’t captured a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, nor has he won after an opening round as high as 3 over.
Said Woods: “It’s one of those golf courses where there are some easy holes and there’s some hard holes that follow. You’ve got to take care of the easy holes and try and get through the hard ones. And for some reason I left myself quite a few putts in there where they were easily makeable and I didn’t make any.”
No player in the glitzy 1-2-3 group at the Open played particularly well in the opening round. Masters champion Adam Scott played his seven holes Friday in 5 over par to shoot 72, while world No. 2 Rory Mcllroy carded a 73.
The star-studded trio will head back out for their second round off No. 11 tee at 10:44 a.m. ET.