Tiger struggles in first round at US Open

And McIlroy, who started on the 10th tee, was only just managing to play bogey golf, shooting a seven-over-par 42 on his first nine holes before dropping three more shots at the first and second. That trio consists of what could be the three best current golfers without a major championship. He finished with an eight over par, 78.

The 23-year-old became the first player in 16 years to shoot 90 or worse at the US Open.

Woods was walking from the 14th hole tee and gave Burmester a wave of approval during his eagle celebrations.

Phil Mickelson, needing the US Open to complete the grand slam, played in the feature grouping with Spieth and McIlroy. His pitch got onto the green, but not almost far enough to stay there, and rolled back down the hill a few steps to the left of where Woods had been.

But he settled down to par the remaining four holes, although he missed a birdie opportunity at the par-5 16th. Gregory also missed the cut a year ago at the U.S. Open, his only other appearance at the event. McIlroy incredibly made three double bogeys on his first 10 holes.

It was a rough Thursday for Woods. His recent putting issues became even worse. "This golf course is kind of setting up for that right now".

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Indeed, there was no easing into the 118th U.S. Open, where several big names are likely looking into Friday night flight plans.

From the middle of the first fairway, he went long over the green. He chipped once and it rolled back down the hill. He held it together until a four-putt on No 13, the last three of those putts from six feet. He tried it again with the same result, and then rapped his putter up the hill by the hole and missed the putt.

"I didn't putt well today, and I thought I hit it - I drove it pretty darn good for most of the day".

"Just shoot something in the 60s tomorrow and I will be fine", he said.

That already appears to be the case.

Only five players were under par as of Thursday afternoon, as strong winds created hard conditions at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York, which is near the south shore of Long Island.

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