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Continued: Carl Pettersson, with ban looming, uses a short putter for 1st time in a major

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , AP Golf Writer
  • Last update: July 18, 2013 - 3:00 PM

That shot stuck with him.

Johnson believes if he had hit a 5-wood, even with a poor swing he wouldn't have lost as much to the right. Besides, he tried out the 2-iron on a Trackman radar device and found it only goes about 7 yards longer than his 2-iron.

"I tried a 2-iron on the range and it lasted for about five minutes," he said.

The real difference, though, was Royal St. George's. That was the last time he hit one in competition.

"And it will never go back in," Johnson said. "If I wouldn't have had one in there, it might have been a different story."

___

SPIETH ROLLS ON: The last five days must feel like a blur to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth. He won the John Deere Classic on Sunday for his first professional win, which qualified him for the British Open. He flew on a charter overnight to Scotland. He saw Muirfield for the first time.

And then he went out Thursday and had one of only 13 rounds in the 60s.

Perhaps even more impressive is that Spieth had only one bogey, dropping a shot on the par-3 fourth hole. He birdied two of the par 5s and added another birdie on the short par-4 third hole.

The kid loves to play poker to relax. This feels like house money. Remember, he started the season without status on any tour and now has a PGA Tour title, an exemption through 2015 on tour, a spot in the next two majors and World Golf Championships and over $2 million.

"There's even less pressure than there was before," Spieth said. "I kind of accomplished more than I'd thought possible this year. I just wanted to get my card for next year. Now it's just really exciting. ... I didn't think it would happen this soon. But on the course, I was plenty confident to go out there and do it."

___

TWO WDs, BUT NO ALTERNATES: Joost Luiten of Belgium and David Lingmerth of Sweden were at Muirfield playing and practicing to be ready to play in case anyone had to pull out. They wound up having to go home.

Two players did withdraw, but only after their rounds started.

Peter Hanson, who has been coping with a bad back, pulled out after five holes. Louis Oosthuizen, playing with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell, withdrew with a recurring neck injury after a bogey on the eighth hole. He was 4-over for his round. It was the second straight major the South African couldn't finish.

"I'm bitterly disappointed to have to pull out of the Open, and it looks likely now I am going to have to take some time off and give my neck the rest I've been told it needs," he said. "I thought I would be OK today as I warmed up pretty well on the range hitting balls. But then as the round progressed the pain in my neck translated into my hips and just found it increasingly uncomfortable to walk."

Oosthuizen won the Open at St. Andrews in 2010.

His management company said the rest doctors have prescribed would mean Oosthuizen misses the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and the PGA Championship.

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