Henrik Stenson, the reigning British Open champion and fourth-ranked player in the world, withdrew Thursday from The Barclays after posting a three-over-par 74 in the first round at Bethpage Black. Stenson cited discomfort from a knee injury.
Last December, Stenson underwent successful meniscus surgery on his right knee, and he recovered well to go on to an outstanding season in which he won the British Open in record fashion and won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics.
But he also withdrew from the U.S. Open in June at Oakmont, when he was 10-over-par through 16 holes of the rain-delayed second round, nine-over for the tournament and was in obvious danger of missing the cut.
Like Oakmont, Bethpage Black is a long, demanding physical test with deep rough. Stenson issued no statement about his withdrawal, but it’s possible the physical strain was too much for his knee.