Tiger Woods dramatically won his last major and U.S. Open five years ago at Torrey Pines on a broken leg, and the world’s top-ranked golfer may have to attempt to win the U.S. Open with one arm this weekend. At +3 for the tournament, Woods is in 18th place, four shots behind co-leaders Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel.
Woods seemed to be in considerable pain and bothered by his left arm (he later admitted it was his elbow that was bothering him), which he may have re-injured on or before the fifth hole on Thursday.
He grimaced and noticeably appeared to be in pain after shots from the rough and admitted after his even-par round on Friday that he had suffered an injury at the Players Championship.
Observers of Woods’s game thought he would have a tough time keeping the ball in Merion’s fairway, and Woods scrambled around the greens, making crucial par putts on the back nine that prevented his round from getting derailed and keeping him in the championship.
He has never won a major when he has not been under par heading into moving day, but Merion’s golf course, which ate up the field on Friday and has only yielded two scores in red, ensures grinders like Woods will survive. So will those like Mickelson who can just make imaginative shots. Woods could have played himself out of the tournament, but at just four shots back, he will be a threat so long as he does not have trouble reading the speeds of the greens.
Merion is not the lengthiest golf courses, so Woods’s injury could actually force him to ease up a bit off the tee and prevent him from being tempted from going too aggressively after some of Merion’s more treacherous holes, which could be a net positive on some of the more treacherous holes.