Tiger shoots 73 with arm hurting

Updated: June 15, 2013, 4:23 AM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Tiger Woods offered few details about what appeared to be a left elbow injury that was bothering him during the first round of the U.S. Open but also showed no obvious signs of pain as he finished a 3-over-par 73 on Friday.

Woods, who was clearly in distress several times on Thursday, seemed better Friday morning in brisk temperatures but finished the first round 6 strokes behind leader Phil Mickelson.

When asked about his arm, Woods was vague.

"My left arm didn't feel very good on that shot. A few shots," Woods said, "but overall it was not too bad a round. I certainly had two three-putts and I had a boatload of putts, and the round could have easily been under par. So that's good heading into this afternoon."

When Woods was asked what he felt, he said: "Pain. But it is what it is and you move on, and I've got to get ready for this next round."

Woods tees off at 10:44 a.m. ET in the delayed second round. Mickelson's tee time is not until 3:41 p.m.

Woods is grouped with Masters champion Adam Scott and No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy. The three played the first round in a combined 8 over par, with Scott stepping onto the course Friday at 3 under and finishing the last seven holes in 5 over.

Merion's East Course, considered vulnerable with a week of rain, ended up anything but easy. Just five players -- Mickelson, Luke Donald, Mathew Goggin, Russell Knox and Nicolas Colsaerts -- finished under par.

"I think everyone thought that as soon as the course got wet it was going to play easy," said Donald, who bogeyed two of his last three holes to fall out of the lead. "The scores certainly aren't showing that. The tough holes are extremely tough. It does give you a little bit of balance with some of those shorter holes, but you really need to play those tough ones well."

Ian Poulter tweeted, "Hahahaha just looked at the first round. How wrong everyone was. What happened with the field shooting 62. Give #Merion some respect."

Woods actually did that Friday. Despite his troubles on Thursday when he made four bogeys through 11 holes, he hit the ball better on Friday morning but still made two bogeys against just one birdie, which came at the 102-yard 13th.

He hit nice approach shots to the 15th and 16th holes -- two of the tougher back-nine par-4s -- but could not convert birdie putts. He got a bad break with a tough lie at the par-3 17th after missing the green on the 240-yard par-3 -- and made bogey to fall to 3 over.

"It's one of those golf courses where there's some easy holes and there's some hard holes that follow," Woods said, "and you got to take care of the easy holes and try and get through the hard ones. And for some reason I left myself quite a bit of, quite a few putts in there where they were easily makable and I didn't make any."

Woods has just four victories in his career when shooting over par in the first round, but three of them came in major championships. He has won four times on the PGA Tour this year and is trying for his 15th major championship but first since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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