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Tiger Woods mum on bum elbow, but unmuzzled by Merion

on Fri, 06/14/2013 - 6:58pm
By Scott Michaux

ARDMORE, Pa. – Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. Can he win another with a banged up arm?

 

After wincing and wagging his way to 3-over-par 73 in the first round at Merion Golf Club, Woods hung around with a respectable 70 on a long Friday – one of five players to shoot par or better in the morning wave of the second round.

 

His left elbow, however, was a sore subject he wasn’t willing to give up much detail.

 

What prompted his reaction?

 

“Pain,” he said.

 

When did he first hurt it?

 

“A couple of weeks ago.”

 

Did it hurt as much in the second round?

 

“Well, it is what it is.”

 

How did he hurt it?

 

“Playing golf at the Players.”

 

Where did he hurt it?

 

“One of the rounds.”

 

Thanks for that insightful report. Whatever the cause, it had little effect on Woods’ outlook for the U.S. Open weekend. At 3-over par, Woods and world No. 2 Rory McIlroy were creeping up the leaderboard as more and more players fell victim to Merion’s guile.

 

Woods wasn’t at all surprised that the 6,996-yard course was winning the battle against the game’s best players equipped with modern equipment despite soft conditions after days of rain soaked the course. The USGA still had a few tricks up its sleeve to defend a course that is proving to need little protection.

 

“It’s hard with the wind and the pin locations,” Woods said. “They’re really tough. We knew they were going to be in the (hard) areas, but we didn’t think they were going to be as severe as they are.”

 

The tough pins, thick wet rough and narrow fairways conspired to make Merion a more volatile venue than players are typically accustomed to. Luke Donald’s day epitomized the struggle – with six bogeys more than offsetting four birdies. Billy Horschel’s 67 was the only round under par in the morning wave.

 

Reigning Masters Tournament champion Adam Scott, playing with Woods and McIlroy, started the day tied with clubhouse leader Phil Mickelson at 3-under par through the 11 holes he completed on Thursday. He went 6-over on his first five holes in the morning and then shot 75 with only one birdie in the second round. Scott ended the day hoping the cut line would move down to his two-day total of 7-over par.

 

“I got off on the wrong foot and just struggled to find my rhythm all day,” Scott said. “I didn’t make the putts I needed to kind of save some shots here and there. And they just slipped away too easily. But that’s what can happen if you’re just a little bit off.”

 

Woods let his own strokes slip away – even stubbing a greenside chip that only went 1 foot on No. 7 – but all in all is lurking around the top 20 within four shots of the clubhouse leaders Horschel and Phil Mickelson.

 

With a bum elbow and all, does Woods like his chances?

 

“Yes,” he said.

 

On that note, he didn't flinch.