Tiger Woods in brutal scenes as Aussie golf stars suffer in 'joke' conditions at US Open

The greens at Pinehurst have proven just as tricky as advertised.

Tiger Woods is enduring another major nightmare and Adam Scott was the only Aussie not to finish over-par after the tricky conditions wreaked havoc in the first round of the US Open golf. Woods became an early casualty of what he had predicted would be a "war of attrition" in the 124th US Open at Pinehurst.

The 48-year-old made a great start to his opening round with a birdie on the first hole on Thursday, but the 15-time major winner could only register one more and six bogeys in a disappointing 74. It left Woods nine shots behind leaders Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, who finished five-under after the first 18.

Cameron Smith and Tiger Woods in the first round of the US Open.
Cameron Smith and Tiger Woods were among the many to struggle in the first round of the US Open. Image: Getty/US Open

Pinehurst's 'turtleback' greens had dominated the conversation in the build-up to the year's third major, and Collin Morikawa had a brutal moment when his chip from the bunker rolled all the way off the other side. Woods admitted he had putted off several greens in practice due to how fast they are.

"It's going to be a great test and a great war of attrition this week," Woods said in his pre-event press conference. "It's going to be a lot of fun for all of us."

But it didn't turn out too fun for Woods as he finished four-over. The 48-year-old has vowed to play all the majors this year - but his recent record isn't too pretty.

He carded a third round 82 at the Masters in April - his worst score at Augusta National - and finished last of the 60 players to make the weekend cut. He then missed the cut in the US PGA Championship in May and needed an invite from the USGA to make it to Pinehurst after his exemption for winning the Masters in 2019 expired.

"I'm physically getting better as the year has gone on," Woods said. "I just haven't been able to play as much because I just don't want to hurt myself pre, then I won't be able to play in the major championships. It's pick your poison, right? Play a lot with the potential of not playing, or not playing and fight being not as sharp."

Tiger Woods at the US Open.
Tiger Woods in action during the first round of the US Open.

Cantlay made six birdies for a 65 to match the first-round score of Martin Kaymer, who scored a runaway victory at Pinehurst in 2014. McIlroy joined him at the top of the leaderboard with his fifth birdie at the 18th in a bogey-free start to his latest quest for an elusive fifth major - a decade after winning his fourth.

And the Aussie contingent didn't fare much better than Woods, with only Scott managing to match par in the first round. Australia hasn't had a US Open winner since Geoff Ogilvy in 2006, and an Aussie challenge looks unlikely for yet another year.

Contesting his 92nd-consecutive major, Scott drained a lengthy birdie putt on his final hole to sign for an even-par 70. Cameron Smith and Jason Day finished one shot further behind after grinding out 71s, while Min Woo Lee carded a 73 and Jason Scrivener a 74. Cam Davis faces the fiercest fight of all to make the halfway cut after starting with a seven-over 77.

Adam Scott at the US Open.
Adam Scott was the only Aussie not to go over par in the first round of the US Open. Image: Getty

Smith arrived at the year's third major championship confident of contending. But the first round only provided more frustrations in a lacklustre season for the 2022 British Open champion. He managed only two birdies to be tied for 34th after the opening 18 holes.

with AAP