Day 1 at Shinnecock
Keep that card
Scott Piercy: So frustrated with his game, Piercy walked off the course after four holes during a final practice round Wednesday. He then woke up Thursday and turned in a steady 69 to tie for the lead at 1 under. “I really didn’t see this coming,” he said.
Toss that card
Rory McIlroy: One of the heavy U.S. Open betting favorites, McIlroy shot 10-over-par 80 for the first time in a major and just the third time in 268 official starts, including those as an amateur. On Thursday, 10 of the 20 amateurs in the field bettered McIlroy’s score.
On the course with ...
Dustin Johnson: The rough is so thick at Shinnecock that players are having a hard time finding their golf ball even with help from volunteers. Johnson had a search party of about 30 when his tee shot on No. 6 went awry. Among those looking for his ball was Rich Beem, who won the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine and is now working for Sky Sports. He found the ball after stepping on it. If Johnson had stepped on the ball, it would have been a one-shot penalty. Because it was someone else, Johnson was able to take a drop without penalty.
With the wind up, the Shinnecock greens dried out and Tiger Woods sure felt the wrath. His quest for his first major championship victory since 2008 got off to a rough start with a triple bogey on the first hole. Woods’ second shot flew over the green. His chip shot hit the green and rolled back off. He did the same thing with his putter on his fourth shot, then reached the green on his fifth before two-putting. He also four-putted from 40 feet on No. 13 and finished with a 78.
• There was at least one double bogey on every hole, bumping the scoring average to 76.4.
• Justin Thomas three-putted No. 17, then uncorked a career-long 422-yard drive on 18.
• Phil Mickelson’s 77 was his highest opening-round score in 27 U.S. Open starts.
• Forty-four players broke par in Round 1 at Erin Hills last June. Four did Thursday.
Par-4, 536-yard No. 14: The hardest hole on the course — it played to a stroke average of 4.8 — took a toll on players, including co-leader Johnson, who made bogey, and Woods, who made double bogey. McIlroy also made 6 on the hole.
Quote of the day
“Feels like you’re pulling teeth every single hole you play. How I’ve got any left, I don’t really know.”
— Ian Poulter, on the stress of playing in the U.S. Open.
Tweet of the day
“Rory (80), Jordan (78), Phil (77) a combined +25. Remember that, kids, as you anxiously await legalized gambling.”
— PGA Tour writer Jim McCabe (@JimMcCabeGolf).
The winds are forecast to be much calmer Friday, which should lead to better scores. But who has enough to move up and who shot themselves too far back? FS1 has coverage from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and then Ch. 9 takes over from there.