Garcia endures heckling from few fans
Sergio Garcia had a quiet opening round, other than getting heckled by a few Philly fans, following up a double bogey with a quad, hitting a Golf Digest writer in the neck with an errant drive and going birdie-eagle to finish with a respectable 3-over 73.
His adventure began on the 14th hole, where he lost his footing and duck-hooked his drive out of bounds.
Then he said he hit a “terrible” tee shot on 15 that also went O.B.
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Witnesses reported that one fan piled on by saying, “I’ll buy you KFC,” in reference to his offensive “fried chicken” line about Tiger Woods, and another called out, “Hey, Sergio, pollo frito!”
“There were a couple here and there,” Garcia said of the hecklers, “but I felt the people were very nice. Almost all of them were behind me.”
Amateurs fair well: Cheng-Tsung Pan had a pretty good day on the course. He felt even better about it when he scanned the scores.
Pan was one of several amateurs who had a respectable showing in Thursday’s opening round of the U.S. Open. Pan shot a 2-over 72 at Merion Golf Club and put himself in solid position to make the cut.
Kevin Phelan topped the four amateurs who completed early rounds with a 1-over 71.
USGA vice president Thomas O’Toole met with Steve Stricker right after he birdied his last hole for a 1-over 71. O’Toole said a call came in that Stricker improved his lie in an area where he intended to take a penalty drop by walking back and forth on the thick grass.
After meeting with Stricker, it was determined that he did not drop it in the area he was walking, and it was not a violation. Stricker said he was surprised to see O’Toole.