UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Strange but true. Caddie health might be a factor in the U.S. Open. The caddies for Henrik Stenson and Stephen Gallacher suffered injuries during Wednesday's practice round, but while Stenson's was able to work and help him tie for the lead with a 65, Gallacher used a local caddie but was far back and in danger of missing the cut.
Stenson and Gallacher were playing together Wednesday afternoon when Gareth Lord, who caddies for Stenson, slipped on the dried-out fine fescue grass and suffered a wrist injury that required a cast. A short while later, Gallacher's caddie, Damien Moore, suffered a sprained ankle that put him in a walking boot and out of the U.S. Open.
Asked if he thought he might have to replace his caddie, Stenson deadpanned, "That's a thought I've had many times when I played with Gareth."
When the laughter died, Stenson said, "Of course, I was worried. He said he was OK, but he was quiet. Five minutes later, it started getting black and blue up the lower part of his arm. We iced it on the 17th tee box, and then he went to see the physio. He spent a couple hours in the emergency room, and yeah, he's in a cast.
"Gallacher's man went down a couple holes after we left them. So, it's definitely dangerous with those slopes, and the grass gets shiny and lays down. It gets a bit like ice skating out there."
Stenson said Lord mentioned that he hoped to avoid falling this week a few minutes before his accident. "He's not in a good place with his hand, but he managed to caddie and did a good job for me," Stenson said. "I had to caddie for him a little bit, as well."
Local knowledge pays off
University Place resident Michael Putnam, who had the honor of hitting the first tee shot of the 115th U.S. Open, shot even par 70 to match the score he shot in the first official round at Chambers Bay when it opened in 2007. "Today's 70 was a lot better considering the circumstances and how the course is playing," Putnam said. "That first tee shot was special even though I pulled it into the weeds.
"I couldn't believe how many people were here at 7 a.m. to watch us go off. That means they're getting to shuttles at 6 and 5. It's cool to see that support."
Woodland in hospital
After a first-round 74, Gary Woodland was hospitalized with severe dehydration and administered IV fluids. He was diagnosed with a virus. In a statement, agent Mark Steinberg said Woodland has not been feeling well since Sunday but said he "hopes to play [today]."