Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a face-slapping, butt-biting, ass-kicking United States Open Championship — compliments of Shinnecock Hills and the 20 mile-per-hour winds that showed up Thursday for the first round of the 118th playing of our national championship.
There was plenty of mayhem to go around. Bogeys showed up like ants at a picnic, there were plenty of dreaded “others” to be found — as in double and triple bogeys.
There were plenty of three-putts, four-putts as well and a lot of head-hanging from some of the world’s finest players.
Shinnecock was an equal-opportunity brute. Didn’t matter who you were, if you didn’t play great golf, you were probably doomed.
The celebrity body count was high.
Let’s start with the 2,000-pound elephant on the grounds. Tiger Woods had himself one miserable day.
Woods started with a triple-bogey seven at the first, which was supposed to be one of the few birdie holes on this particularly difficult day. Woods was four-over after two holes and it didn’t get a whole lot better for Eldrick after that. He had back-to-back doubles at 13 and 14, the one at 13 came courtesy of a four-putt green, three of those from a mere six feet. After seeing things going wrong for so many players early in the day, Woods said his plan was to avoid making those dreaded “others.”
Sorry ’bout that Tigh.
The 14-time major champion had plenty of big-name company.
How about a snowman for Rory McIlroy? Yeah, 80 pops. Evidently, Shinnecock didn’t exactly dig the long ball.
Rory started on the back nine and by the time he played 11 holes, he was 10-over par, looking every bit like a 16-handicapper. There must have been something contagious in his threesome.
Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth were with him and they didn’t fare much better. Jordy looked dreadful on his way to 78, Mickelson hit 13 of 14 fairways and still finished with 77 — tough sleddin’ out there. As a group they combined to shoot 25-over-par. Nice work guys.
No worries, Jason Day was among the casualties as well. Put down 78 for J-Day.
John Rahm put and end to his hopes with a 78. Caramba!
Defending champion Brooks Koepka was no ball of fire. After holing a 40-footer for birdie to start his round, things went south and he’d post 75.
The entire day was a blood-letting.
After Wednesday’s rains, some thought that at least the morning scores might be good.
Mother Nature took care of that.
Didn’t matter that the fairways were wider, the deep rough still had plenty of customers.
It looked like the greens were sprayed with ball repellant.
Too many players forgot that you can’t go long on most of these holes — witness Tiger’s triple at one from 132 yards out in the fairway. He went long, real long and paid a steep price.
Along with McIlroy, there were 26 others who didn’t break 80, including Martin Kaymer, a former U.S. Open winner.
Then there was England’s Scott Gregory.
Scottie had one helluva bad day.
Ten bogeys, three double-bogeys and two triple bogeys. Three pars, no birdies for a quick 92, 22-over-par.
Average score for day one was 76.
And yes, folks, we’ve finally got a real U.S. Open.
Sit back, relax — and enjoy the mayhem.