Tiger just got stomped by 15-year-old in disastrous Round 1
Cole Hammer, frame that scorecard. Tiger Woods, head back to the drawing board.
Hammer, the 15-year-old phenom playing this weekend in his first U.S. Open, did not really post a Thursday score worthy of framing, finishing at 7-over. But hey, it was his debut at a major championship. That alone is memorable. Cut him some slack.
Oh, and there’s also this one stat that’ll make it worthy: At the end of the day, he was ahead of Woods, a 14-time major champion, on the leaderboard.
Yes, for as rough as Hammer’s debut was, Tiger’s day was truly miserable. And it had none of the silver lining that the young Hammer can take away from simply being there.
After bogies on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, Woods went to the 14th even with Hammer — who already had wrapped up his round — at 7-over, then busted out a triple-bogey to slide all the way back to 10-over par. Only the unheralded Rich Berberian, Jr., at 13-over, was worse at the time. Hammer was never worse than 7-over at any point during his round.
Tiger parred the 15th, then hit his first birdie of the day at the 16th to bounce back to 9-over. He then parred the 17th before finding his way into the notorious pot bunker dubbed "Chambers Basement" on the 18th after badly mishitting his second shot. The assembled gallery could be heard laughing as his ball trickled into the deep pit. Tiger ended up with a bogey there to end with a 10-over 80.
"It was a tough day," Woods said after the round. "Got off to a bad start. … Just couldn’t quite get it turned around."
On the bright side? Tiger wasn’t the worst in his own group. That distinction belonged to Rickie Fowler, who finished with an 11-over 81.
The score of 80 marked Woods’ fourth-worst round as a professional. Three of those have come this year. He shot an 85 at the Memorial two weeks ago and an 82 at the Phoenix Open in January.
Even still, he found time for a couple moments of levity. A solid bunker shot on the 10th prompted a roar from the crowd and a bow and smile from Tiger:
And in his post-round news conference, he made sure everyone knew of his superiority to Fowler.
"At least I kicked Rickie’s butt today," he quipped.
Thursday marked the 15th anniversary of Tiger’s win at the 2000 U.S. Open, a tournament he won by 15 strokes. (Hammer was 9 months old at the time.) And after his first-round dud at Chambers Bay, Tiger finds himself 15 strokes behind co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson.
There’s plenty of reason to be excited about Hammer’s future — and to expect many more Tiger-beating rounds — but for now, it’ll be a nice thing to tell his friends back home. And how can you not root for a guy who reacted like this before teeing off Thursday?
Making the cut may be nearly impossible for Woods, but you can watch him give it a go Friday on FOX Sports 1. He’s slated to tee off at 11:28 a.m. ET. Coverage begins on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports Go at noon ET.