Tiger Woods is 1-over through his first five holes at Merion, but more concerning than his score is what appears to be a wrist or hand injury. On two separate occasions early in his opening round, Tiger has grimaced in pain and shaken his wrist coming out of shots from the thick rough.
Already over par, Tiger sent his drive off the fairway at No. 5, landing in some thick stuff that required a blast out approach. He went down and dug it out but spent several seconds shaking off his left arm after the shot:
A wayward drive at No. 1 earlier forced another punch-out and quick shake of the left hand. That sequence eventually led to an opening bogey, just the start of a rough front nine at Merion. The first grimace could have passed as just an isolated knock, but the second one in his first hour on the course is definitely cause for concern.
The USGA has let the rough grow a little longer than in recent U.S. Opens, going away from the graduated rough that they implemented under Mike Davis starting at Winged Foot in 2006. It's at least five inches thick and as high as seven inches farther off the the fairway. Most players have no hope of advancing the ball more than 150 yards out of it, but Tiger's strength is usually an advantage in this scenario. If that wrist is bothering him though, it will be the start of a long week.
In 1995 while he was an amateur, Tiger had to withdraw from the U.S. Open at Shinnecock because of a wrist injury.
Fortunately for the No. 1 player in the world, the weather delay horn sounded while he was up on the fifth green, where he'll make, at best, his third bogey in his first five holes. The weather break, however, will give Woods some time to regroup, both physically and mentally.