It's a mud, mud world for Tiger Woods at U.S. Open

FARMINGDALE, N.Y.—It’s the United States Open, and it’s brutally hard Bethpage Black, so perhaps it is understandable that something rare happened Friday morning. That was Tiger Woods, poised to finish the rain-delayed first round near the top of the leaderboard, stumbling in with two bogeys and a double bogey on the last four holes to post a 74.It was very, very un-Tiger-like and not what we expected from the man who is the overwhelming favorite to win this week (and every week he plays). June18_woods_600x399 Woods birdied the 11th and hit it close at the par-3 14th for another birdie to battle his way back to even par. Then Bethpage Black, and a few missed fairways, got him. He was frustrated, obviously, and a little ticked off.“I’m even par with four to go, right where I needed to be, and two bad shots and a mud ball later, I’m at four over,” Woods said. “I wasn’t playing poorly. It’s not like I was hitting it all over the placed. I hit a lot of good shots; I just didn’t finish off the round the way I needed to.”Woods hit a poor tee shot at 15, plugged his second shot near the green and got a free drop. His pitch caught a slope and rolled back to the front of the green. Then he missed a short second putt and took a double bogey.At 16, he caught a mud ball. This may go down in U.S. Open annals as the Mud Ball Open. That means his ball had a clump of mud clinging to it, which usually causes the ball to squirt off in the opposite direction. (If the mud is on the left side of the ball, for instance, the ball will likely shoot to the right.)“The one I had on 16, the mud was on the left, so obviously you know it goes right,” Woods said. “I tried to draw it, which didn’t work out. It started to draw and I hit a big slice. The mud ball I hit on 13 was the back side of the ball, so I never got that one in the air. It was just tumbling, but I got away with that one.”At 18, Woods was just off the green in a thick lie, and he wasn’t able to chip it close. Another bogey.“The guys who are playing today and tomorrow morning are going to get more mud balls,” Woods said. “It’s only going to get worse. The staff did a hell of a job getting the course ready. I’m sure they worked all night. It was great out there.”(Photo: John Biever/SI)

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