Mickelson gets best of Woods, Scott as all three have work to do
SAN DIEGO -- If you wanted to hang with the glamour group Thursday, you had to play hurt.
I'm not just talking about Tiger Woods' surgically repaired left knee, which left him grimacing by round's end. I'm not just talking about Adam Scott's broken bone in his right hand, which he described as "pretty miserable." And I'm not just talking about Phil Mickelson tweaking his wrist while fluttering one horrible shot all of seven feet through the rough.
I'm talking about the older fan who reportedly passed out amid the crowd before the marquee group of Woods, Scott and Mickelson teed off at 8:06 a..m. local time. And the guy who fell out of a tree behind the first green as that group went by, avoiding injury but not avoiding a mud bath. And the guy who was clonked by Woods' ball after an errant fairway wood sizzled past the ropes on the ninth hole.And the thousands of other fans who bumped, jostled and stepped on each other while chasing golf royalty around Torrey Pines. This was the true San Diego Zoo. It was rough out there. Rough enough that the world's top three players couldn't break par on a day when plenty of others did. And rough enough that the roving mob that passed for a gallery couldn't stay out of its own way.
"It was pretty loud at times," Woods said. "Overall, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I think there have been more people before, but I haven't seen this many people inside the ropes."That's where the media members are. Tiger estimated that throng at more than 100, surrounded by a big breakfast club outside the ropes. The fans were willing to endure predawn indignities to see one of the most-anticipated threesomes in U.S. Open history: perennial major favorite Woods, hometown favorite Mickelson, female favorite Scott. By 6 a.m., lines snaked endlessly around the bus staging area at Qualcomm Stadium just to get a ride to the golf course. By 7:55 a.m., after Joe Ogilvie, Mark Calcavecchia and Oliver Wilson had hit their first shots of the U.S. Open, the mob had engulfed the first tee.
Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPN4D@aol.com.
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