On a day when red subpar numbers were plentiful at Winged Foot, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth each came out of the box slowly, made a mid-round move to get themselves into contention and then faded badly coming home in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday. Woods and Spieth both shot 3-over 73, which left them eight strokes behind first-round leader Justin Thomas.
Woods was 2-over through eight holes but strung together three straight birdies and was 1-under through 12. But he was 4-over on the last six, including a finishing double bogey.
"I just did not finish off my round the way I needed to," a disconsolate Woods said.
This is just his sixth appearance of the season, and the birdie streak seemed an encouraging sign. But 15-time major champion Woods was having none of it.
"I had a nice little hot run in the middle part of my round, hit a really good putt at No. 12, thought it was going to go in, and then I lipped out," Woods said. "Then, I made two bogeys after that. Didn’t finish off my round the way I needed to."
Spieth made it hard on himself early with a bogey at the first hole and a double bogey at the second, where his tee shot landed in a tree and never came down. "Tough break early," Spieth said. "Shooting 3-over at a U.S. Open feeling like I had no control, it’s not bad…I think [eight] back after the first round, if there’s any tournament where that’s okay, it’s a U.S. Open. But it’s just too many tournaments where I’m at least seven back after one. It’s frustrating."
Spieth won three majors before his 24th birthday, but he hasn’t won anywhere since the 2017 British Open. "Standing on a tee at the U.S. Open and not knowing exactly where the ball is going is not a great feeling," Spieth said. "But I’ll grind it out. I don’t ever give up."