Day One at the 2018 U.S. Open was a practice in survival. The famous saying that tournaments can’t be won on Thursday, but they can be lost rang true for a number of big-name players, one of which may turn out to be Tiger Woods.
With a good idea of what was needed around Shinneock Hills on a blustery Thursday afternoon, Woods made a mess of the first hole by hitting his approach over the green and struggling to get the ball on the putting surface, eventually tapping in for a triple-bogey 7. Another bogey on the second hole had Woods at 4-over par through two with 16 of the toughest holes on the planet remaining.
To Woods’ credit, he hung tough getting one shot back on the front nine before turning home and watching it all unravel again. A bogey on the par-3 11th moved him back to 4-over par, but his day was truly undone by the back-to-back double bogeys on 13 and 14, which included a four-putt from 40 feet on the par-4 13th.
He would miss two putts from inside six feet.
Tiger Woods. Four putt. Sounds odd. pic.twitter.com/QKweFySXTB
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) June 14, 2018
Woods was far from the worst on Thursday at Shinnecock. English pro Scott Gregory posted a 22-over par 92, while Rory McIlroy shot a 10-over par 80, Jordan Spieth matched Woods with an 8-over par 78 and Phil Mickelson shot a first-round 77.
Scott Stallings had his own issues with his putter. The three-time PGA Tour winner hit the par-4 14th green in three shots before putting the ball off the back of the green and struggling to a quintuple-bogey 9. He would go on to shoot 80 as well.
— Scott Stallings (@stallingsgolf) June 14, 2018
The story for Woods was the same as it was last week at Memorial when he had his best ball-striking week of year only to be let down by the flatstick.
“It’s tough out there,” Woods said after the round. “But, I mean I shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple, four-putt. For most of the day, I just didn’t putt well.
“(The four-putt on No. 13) was not very good. I was worried about running the putt by because it’s downhill on the other side, left it short, blocked the next one, and then blocked it again. Not very good.”
Although he enters the second day of the event at 8-over par, he’s only nine shots back of the leaders with hopes of closing that gap with a good round on Friday.
“Shoot something in the 60s tomorrow, and I’ll be just fine,” Woods said of his mindset going into the weekend. “I just think today was the toughest day we’ll have all week. But then again, I think they’re going to let these greens firm out a little bit. They’ll start to pick up a little bit of speed, and it will be a good U.S. Open again.”