How tough is the course?
The scoring average for Round 1, finished Friday, was 74.21. Only five players finished under par, fewest for the round since two at Oakmont in 2007:
Phil Mickelson (above): 3-under 67
Luke Donald: 2-under 68
Matthew Goggin: 2-under 68
Nicolas Colsaerts: 1-under 69
Russell Knox: 1-under 69
Make yourself at home (a little)
Merion Golf Club is shoehorned into a tightly spaced residential neighborhood in Ardmore, Pa., near Philadelphia, so players know the logistics and some of the day-to-day details are going to be different than the average PGA Tour tournament. How different?
"The players' breakfast buffet is in some family's house near the course, and the family is still there," Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, said. "About eight of us were eating and sitting around the big screen TV in the den watching SportsCenter when one of the kids who lives there came in and changed the channel.
"At first, we didn't know what to make of that, but we figured he lives there, he can do what he wants. He went to the buffet and came back and ate with us. I was reading the paper. Their dogs were wandering around. It was like being at home. But I can't say I've ever done that just before a tournament."
It's rough … really, really rough
It's like something Carl the greenskeeper from Caddyshack might have concocted. But Merion's rough is no joke.
Just ask the golfers who whacked their way around the track and were penalized for nearly every wayward shot through the first two rounds.
"It's very difficult," Ernie Els said after he completed his 1-over first round. "I was actually fortunate a couple of times. I didn't hit too many fairways, but I did get reasonable lies.
"But on 14, I hit it down the right and could only advance the ball 20 yards into the rough. And then I had 120 to the front edge. So it was very difficult to get the ball out of there."
Merion's rough, aside from a few inches near the edges that are mowed lower than the primary, does not have a first cut. Some players seemed annoyed by this feature.
"There's no semi-rough this week," Lee Westwood said.
"Merion is about precision," U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said. "If you come here on a normal basis, they've got thick rough and it's something where you need to hit to Merion's fairways."
Tiger and Rory, together at 3 over
Their toil over, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shook hands and hung together on the green, both survivors. • The world's No. 1- and 2-ranked players walked off the course together to sign their cards, sharing some words and a few laughs, neither complaining about getting away from the second round at 3 over. • "Long day and I'm hungry," Woods said, completing his first round at 3-over 73 and his second round at 70. • "I'm very happy," McIlroy said of 73-70. "Right in there for the weekend. I don't think I'll be too far away by the end of the day." • McIlroy and Woods both thought wind was among the factors keeping scores high. "We got it right in the stiff breeze," Woods said of playing the tougher late holes in the morning. "It was playing hard." • It's unclear how much Woods is affected by pain in his left wrist. He shook the wrist a few times Thursday after shots from the rough and also let his left arm fly off the club a couple of times late Friday after slightly wayward shots. • Woods said he hurt the wrist at the Players Championship last month but didn't give details. Asked what he had felt, Woods said, "Pain. But it is what it is and you move on." • "I haven't seen anything wrong with him," McIlroy said.