After Tiger Woods shot even-par 70 on Friday at the U.S. Open in Ardmore, Pa., he confirmed the obvious.
Woods is playing with some sort of a left-elbow injury, which was reflected by his pronounced winces Thursday and Friday, particularly after shots from Merion’s rough.
Woods was customarily vague on the extent and the origin of the injury, merely confirming that it happened at The Players Championship last month “during one of the rounds.”
When Woods felt the sting, he typically held his hand behind him, or flexed it.
The rough at Merion is a painful enough experience, and when Tiger chunked a chip shot just off the seventh green he appeared to feel it especially.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Woods seemed more vexed by the U.S. Open’s pin positions.
“We knew the pins were going to be in certain areas,” he said, “but we didn’t know they would be as severe as they are. I think they might be a step or two harder because the golf course is so soft and they’re trying to protect par.”
Asked if he believes the U.S. Golf Association’s officials when they say they don’t care what the winning score is, Woods said, “No.”
Paul Lawrie fought back with a 71 and feared he would miss the cut. The day wasn’t a total loss. Hours later, the 1999 British Open champion was among those selected for the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
More than his performance on the course, the Scot was recognized for his foundation that helps pay for kids to get into sport. It started with golf and now includes soccer, rugby and tennis.
“I wanted to do it before I won the Open, but I didn’t think I was a big enough name and didn’t think sponsors would be interested or the kids would want to participate in the events,” Lawrie said. “All of a sudden, I win the Open. It’s getting pretty big and growing every year, but I have to say a lot of people do a lot of good work.”
Lawrie holds the major championship record for the largest comeback in the final round, making up 10 shots at Carnoustie, and beating Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a playoff.
“It’s a huge honor,” Lawrie said.
Because Woods and Rory McIlroy both finished at 3-over par, there’s a good chance they will be in the same twosome Saturday.
“I told him I was trying to hole the last putt so I wouldn’t have to play with him tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “But I didn’t, so he has the pleasure of my company again” ... Woods’ ski-champion girlfriend Lindsey Vonn had to trek through the mud at Merion like any other fan. “Sums up my day on the golf course... # muddy # usopen2013,” she wrote on Twitter. The tweet went along with a photo of her from the knees down standing ankle-deep in the soupy muck.
ELSEWHERE IN GOLF
Nathan Tyler’s 10-under par 132 leads the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kan. Former University of Washington star Alex Prugh is two shots back. Olympia’s Andres Gonzales (143) and University Place’s Michael Putnam (145) failed to make the cut. Putnam’s brother, Andrew, made the cut and was at 2-under 140. ... Robert Dinwiddie and Tjaart Van der Walt share the lead at the European Tour’s Najeti Hotels Open in Saint-Omer, France.