U.S. Open notebook: Woods dealing with sore elbow
Tiger Woods has worn a pained look on his face for much of the first two days of the tournament. He said he suffered the injury last month.
ARDMORE, Pa. — After Tiger Woods shot par 70 yesterday at the U.S. Open, he confirmed the obvious:
He is playing with some sort of an injured left elbow, which was reflected by his pronounced winces the past few days, particularly after shots from the Merion Golf Club’s rough.
Even so, Woods is only four shots off the lead, at 3-over-par 143.
He was customarily vague on the extent and origin of the injury, merely confirming that it happened at the Players Championship last month.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Woods seemed more vexed by the pin positions.
“We knew the pins were going to be in certain areas,” he said, “but we didn’t know they would be as severe as they are. I think they might be a step or two harder because the golf course is so soft and (the U.S. Golf Association is) trying to protect par.”
Asked if he believes USGA officials when they say they don’t care what the winning score is, Woods said, “No.”
Woods and Rory McIlroy were paired together, along with Adam Scott. Because Woods and McIlroy are at 3 over, there’s a good chance they will be in the same twosome today when the third round gets underway.
“I told him I was trying to hole the last putt so I wouldn’t have to play with him,” McIlroy said. “But I didn’t, so he has the pleasure of my company again.”
McIlroy, like Woods, shot 70 yesterday.
When a handful of fans politely applauded Morton Orum Madsen’s tee shot on Merion’s claustrophobic first tee, the Danish golfer’s head snapped toward them as if they had just screamed for help.
The reaction likely startled Madsen because for the previous eight holes, he and his equally obscure playing partners, Edward Loar of Texas and South Korea’s Junggon Hwang, had existed in a virtual vacuum.
Like the other little-known groups in a tournament whose stars and spectators are increasingly bunched, the diverse trio occupied a quiet place at Merion. The only roars they heard were muted by distance. Silence typically greeted their best shots, and no TV cameras were watching their every move.
Throughout most of the round, the group’s entourage was composed of the bare minimum: the standard-bearer, an official scorer and a USGA official.
Then it picked up.
“(Loar) has a few family members following him,” said Mary Bea Porter-King, the USGA representative.
Mighty big falls
Three former U.S. Open champions did not make the cut for the weekend.
Jim Furyk, the 2003 winner, shot a 79 and was at 16 over, the worst 36-hole score he has carded in an Open.
Graeme McDowell (2010) was 13 over after a 77. Angel Cabrera (2007) shot an 81 and was 15 over.
The cut figure, which could be 7 or 8 over par, officially will be set at the conclusion of the second round this morning.
When balls collide
In one of the most outrageous scenes witnessed in a U.S. Open, Carl Pettersson had to stop in mid-backswing on the fifth hole when his ball was struck by another ball coming from the adjacent second fairway.
“Luckily I wasn’t in my downswing because I would have missed the ball,” Pettersson said. “I don’t know what the ruling would have been on that, but it might not have been good. I regripped and hit a decent shot after that.”
Pettersson was allowed to replace his ball without penalty. The wayward ball came from Brandon Crick, who had to hit from where his ball landed.