SAN FRANCISCO—It was a tough day at the office for Masters champion Bubba Watson.
But even after shooting a disappointing 78, Watson couldn’t help but grin at the 69 Tiger Woods shot in the opening round of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club on Thursday.
``Yeah, that was the old Tiger,’’ Watson said. ``That was beautiful to watch. That’s what we all come to see. That was awesome, to see him strike the ball like he did.’’
Woods, who knows there are three more rounds to go in his quest for his 15th major, wasn’t interested in Watson’s ``old Tiger’’ remark.
``I was just trying to execute my game plan,’’ Woods said. ``That was all I was trying to do. And I did that.’’
There was a new wrinkle, though, to this Old Tiger. Where Woods often used to pull out big sticks and swing out of his shoes, Woods hit only three drivers on Thursday. On seven par-fours, he hit iron, content to play a longer approach from the fairway.
``I stayed very patient out there,’’ Woods said. ``I felt very pleased with every facet of my game.’’
Woods was the only member of the marquee matchup who held up his end of the deal. With southpaws Watson and Phil Mickelson, who shot 76, struggling, the gallery was reduced to waiting for Lefties.
``I didn’t play very well, obviously,’’ Mickelson said. ``I’ll go out [Friday] and see if I can shoot something under par. I have to put this round aside and see if I can just play one round under par. Maybe that will get me to the weekend.’’
Watson also was feeling glum, but deteremined.
``It’s disappointing starting off like this,’’ Watson said. ``Just couldn’t get anything going. Never got any rhythm. Everything was just a little off.’’