Thursday, May 24, 2018

Scenes from U.S. Open first round

Quote of the day

"There's a couple of guys under par. By the end of the week, Merion is going to win."

Bubba Watson

Bubba has big plans

Bubba Watson's ball was in the rough, and he had some time to think about his next shot. About 3½ hours' worth. Phil Mickelson dozed off during the weather-caused break. So did Keegan Bradley. Charl Schwartzel played Angry Birds on his iPhone.

For the early starters Thursday, rain interrupted play at 8:36 a.m., forcing a scramble for the clubhouse.

Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, put his time planning his way out of the rough to good use.

"Somehow, I made par on that hole when I came back out," said Watson (left), who shot 1-over 71. "The break actually helped me. Now, I can go back and watch (Game 4 of the NBA Finals) and be able to sleep in. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to stay awake that whole time."

Call now!

It can't be a major championship unless someone calls in to report a rules violation.

This time, the U.S. Golf Association talked to the player before he signed his card. And unlike Tiger Woods' controversial situation at the Masters, it turns out Steve Stricker did nothing wrong on the par-3 third hole except for a bad tee shot that led to double bogey.

USGA vice president Thomas O'Toole met with Stricker right after he birdied his last hole for 1-over 71. O'Toole said a call came in that Stricker had improved his lie in an area where he intended to take a penalty drop by walking back and forth on the thick grass.

Stricker's tee shot went on the edge of a bunker in the trees short and left of the green. The rules official determined it was not in a bunker, and Stricker took a one-shot penalty for an unplayable lie because a tree got in the way of his swing. With the elevated green, he walked up the hill a few times to see the flag. O'Toole said the viewer suggested Stricker trampled the grass where he was to drop the ball.

"It's not an intent-based rule," O'Toole said. "In light of other things, we wanted to review it."

After meeting with Stricker, it was determined he did not drop it in the area he was walking and it was not a violation.

That wasn't the only communication from armchair rules officials. There were several calls and emails that Adam Scott grounded his club in the hazard just above a small stream on the left side of the fifth fairway, USGA spokesman Joe Goode. After a review, the USGA said no violation was committed.

Compiled from Times wires,

Sergio Garcia was all over the course in the first round Thursday, literally and figuratively. He shot a 3-over 73 that included double bogey, quadruple bogey, eagle and every other score up to 8 but 1 and 7. And it wasn't only the course that challenged Garcia. NBC reported that he was taunted by some fans for his remarks about inviting Tiger Woods to a fried chicken dinner. Police asked him if he wanted the jeerers removed from the course. The Spaniard declined, saying "No, it would make it worse." Garcia said after his round he heard a couple of jeers "here and there. But I felt the people were very nice for the whole day. I think that almost all of them were behind me, and that was nice to see."