ARDMORE, Pa. – Five years after limping through his last major victory with a serious leg injury, Tiger Woods appears to be dealing with new pain.
Three times in 11 holes the No. 1 golfer in the world shook his left wrist after hitting a shot out of the thick rough at Merion Golf Club. The first came on the very first hole of the U.S. Open when Woods grimaced in after hitting the approach shot, only his second swing of the tournament.
Four holes later, Woods again landed in the right rough and used a wood to put his second shot onto the green. After following through, however, he winced and grabbed the same wrist.
Woods struggled in the early goings Thursday. He was 1-over par through four holes before play was suspended due to weather – a delay he likely appreciated.
Woods' playing partners, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy, were both 1-under under through four before the weather horn blew while the threesome was on the fifth green.
Woods dropped another stroke after play resumed, but got back to plus-1 after dropping a lengthy putt – 60 feet or so – on No. 6.
Then at 11, Woods again found himself in the rough and again he shook his wrist after hitting the shot, this time in the most demonstrative manner yet. A few moments later, as Woods was lining up a par putt, play was suspended for the day due to darkness. Tiger would make the putt after play resumed Friday, but bogey the 12th en route to a 3-over 73. he's six shots back of first-round leader Phil Mickelson, who fired an improbable 67.
All three shots that caused Woods' pain came while he was trying to hit out of the rough, which is quite deep at Merion. In both cases, Woods tried to recover from errant tee shots with forceful swings through the thick grass. He did not need any medical attention.
After the partial round, Woods didn't say much and didn't address his wrist. "I've got a lot of holes to play tomorrow," he said.
Wrist injuries are very common in golf, as players propel the club at rapid speeds through every swing. Woods tweaked his right wrist last year, in the first tournament of 2012 at Pebble Beach, yet did not need to withdraw.
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