U.S. Open marquee group struggles at Merion

June 14, 2013

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Even with an early start time and chilly, autumn-like weather, the world's top three players -- Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott -- drew huge crowds Friday morning. Those fans didn't see what they were expecting.

Woods began the first-round re-start by holing a four-footer for par, but not much else went smoothly for the marquee pairing as it began the scramble to get this U.S. Open back on track. Woods had two bogeys and a birdie over Merion's final six holes and actually fared the best of his group.

Scott started Friday at three under after birdieing the 11th hole on Thursday just before the horn sounded to suspend play, but he bogeyed 12 and 14 and then hooked his tee shot on No. 15 out-of-bounds, leading to a double bogey. He added another bogey on No. 17 -- to be fair, the 243-yard par 3 was playing more like a par 4 -- to finish at two over, one better than Woods and McIlroy overall.

The trio wasn't allowed much time to assess their first 18 together -- just over an hour, in fact -- before heading to the 11th tee to start their second rounds. Woods said his left wrist bothered him on a few shots, but he didn't seem too concerned.

"It is what it is and you move on and I got to get ready for this next round in a little bit," he said.

On the bright side, the group should finish its second round today, while others will have to deal with playing extra golf tomorrow -- something that's never fun, especially at the U.S. Open. They also finished much better than the 1-2-3 pairing of McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood at Olympic Club last year. Those three combined to shoot 19 over on Day 1 and only Westwood went on to make the cut.

With Merion playing difficult so far on Friday -- Woods said it was "unbelievable how much faster" the greens were in the morning -- Scott, Woods and McIlroy are all within the cut line for now and with Mickelson's 67 still leading, all are just a few good holes away from playing their way back into contention.

"It's one of those golf courses where there's some easy holes and there's some hard holes that follow," Woods said. "And you got to take care of the easy holes and try and get through the hard ones.  And for some reason I left myself quite a bit of, quite a few putts in there where they were easily makeable and I didn't make any."