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Tiger Woods overcame an early double bogey and some errant shots on the back nine to post his first round under par at the U.S. Open in seven years. Woods parred the final 11 holes on the way to a score of 1 under 70. He is five strokes behind leader Justin Rose as he tries to make the cut at the US Open for the first time since 2013.
Justin Rose played alongside Tiger Woods, and then joined him in the U.S. Open record book at Pebble Beach.
Considering his tee shot almost buried into a shrubbery and he had to hit the next shot from off the cart path, Brooks Koepka couldn’t have been too unhappy with a par to close out his day at Pebble Beach.Like almost everything else about his first round at the U.S. Open, though, he could’ve done even better. Koepka’s closing par wrapped up a round of 2-under 69 – certainly nothing that would drop him out of the conversation for a third straight title.
It was the kind of mistake that could cost a guy the U.S. Open. Phil Mickelson’s missed one-footer on the third hole was the lowlight of a 1-over-par round that could’ve been much better.
Someone wanted to know about Rickie Fowler’s haircut, not the kind of question you usually get after taking a share of the lead in the U.S. Open. The mullet was attention grabbing, for sure. So on this day at Pebble Beach was his golf.
Scott Piercy spent last week sweating out his US Open chances after missing the cut at the Canadian Open. He ended up getting one of the final qualification spots when he remained in the top 60 in the world. He made the most of that chance by shooting a 4-under par 67 in the opening round at Pebble Beach.
The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was an ideal time for the USGA to bring together its U.S. Open champions for a dinner, which it last did in 2013 at Merion. The attendance was overwhelming and more exclusive than any other such celebration at a dinner.
Rory McIlroy arrived at Pebble Beach with an extra wedge in his bag and an extra bounce in his step. He also brought the putter he used to shoot 61 on Sunday to win the Canadian Open after trading it for a Toronto Raptors jersey, a story all by itself.
Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth began the final day of U.S. Open preparation with a walk along the beach. No other U.S. Open has such a calming effect, especially the seven-hole stretch along the Pacific coast with sweeping views of sea lions basking on the rocks below the sixth green and people walking their dogs on the seashore below the 10th fairway. Fog rolled in, an ominous sign that the U.S. Open is no holiday.
It’s hard to blame Brooks Koepka for not knowing much about the man whose record he’s chasing. For decades, pretty much everyone forgot about him. His name is Willie Anderson. And though Anderson will never be confused with Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, his accomplishment back in 1905 – winning his third consecutive U.S. Open – is something nobody has been able to match.
The story surrounding the last four U.S. Opens has been as much about rules gaffes, dead grass and a lack of rain or wind as it has been the shots by the golfers in the field.
Complaints are normal at the U.S. Open, and some of them are valid because mistakes are made. But it’s starting to sound like whining.
Jason Day believes he has “severely underachieved” in his career despite winning a major and reaching No. 1 in the world. With only two PGA Tour titles since the start of 2017, Day felt a change was needed. Day lured Tiger Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams out of retirement to carry his bag starting with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this week.
Tiger Woods is 44 now, balding and with the usual aches and pains that go along with age and the wear and tear of swinging a golf club. That he’s still capable of competing at the highest level after back and knee surgeries borders on amazing even in a sport that treats its aging stars better than any other.
Graeme McDowell has been more concerned lately about qualifying for major championships than trying to win another one. He took care of an important goal last week at the Canadian Open, where he secured a spot in the British Open at Royal Portrush, his home course. McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, and since then he’s been bombarded with reminders about how hard golf really is.
Brooks Koepka is going for a third straight U.S. Open title aware that the odds are stacked against him. The only player to go back-to-back-to-back in golf’s toughest test was Willie Anderson in 1905. Koepka has long been motivated by people who overlook and underestimate him, but he has everyone’s attention at Pebble Beach. He has won four of his last eight majors, a stretch of success only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan have equaled in the era of four majors.
Facts and figures for the 119th U.S. Open golf championship
A capsule look at 10 top contenders for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
The U.S. Open’s return to Pebble Beach coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the golf course with the most famous coastline in American golf. Where Jack Nicklaus said he would go if he had only one more round to play. Where Tiger Woods delivered his greatest display of dominance.
A hole-by-hole look at Pebble Beach, site of the 119th U.S. Open to be played June 13-16.