Woods expressed no doubt when asked whether he still had another major victory in him, but it was a fair question for a 42-year-old who for all his greatness has lost his putting touch and has no guarantee of ever finding it. I do enjoy it, especially when you’re on the right side of the fight.
The 33-year-old American carded a 67 in Friday’s second round, and is now the only player under par while two players sit at even par for the tournament.
“Absolutely”, Woods said after a 36-hole total of 10 over.
Woods did play the next 10 holes in even par – with one birdie and one bogey.
They arrived Thursday morning with loaded résumés and bulging trophy cases, three golfers not simply ranked among the world’s best but greeted as among the most popular too, a first-day US Open grouping to delight fans packed along Shinnecock’s undulating hills, as well as those watching at home.
Rahm and playing competitor Sergio Garcia each missed the cut, as well, though by a wider margin than McIlroy and Spieth. “I hit some nice pitches from around the greens”, said Johnson. “I drove it pretty darn good for most of the day, just never took advantage of the opportunities”, said Woods.
Woods, making his first start in the US Open since 2015, appeared to get off to a solid start when sending a long iron down the middle of the fairway – but then things went horribly wrong from there. “Unfortunately, I went the other way”.
About the only positive he could take out of it was he beat playing partners Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth as what seemed like a dream pairing turned into a nightmare for three of the world’s best players.
Something about Shinnecock Hills didn’t sit well with a majority of golf’s biggest names.
He chunked his fifth shot out of the high rough, still short of the green. He found the next shot on his own because he advanced it only 6 feet. Charley Hoffman was under par until a bogey on his final hole. – Justin Rose, who is in a group two shots back of the lead at 1 over.
Although Wednesday’s rain softened the greens a touch, the players arrived to see the flags blown stiff by a westerly wind that few had experienced in practice and it turned out to be an ill-wind for McIlroy, who has now broken par just twice in 19 US Open rounds since he won in 2011.
That said, he isn’t the only golfer who experienced issues at Shinnecock today. The scoring average after the first round was a brutal 76.48 on the par-70 course.
“I’m expecting it to be very tough; the greens will speed up because I don’t think they would have liked the scores they saw this afternoon”, Leishman said.
“I peaked and I really played well at the right time”.