ARDMORE, Pennsylvania (AFP) - Top-ranked Tiger Woods stumbled to a two-over par start over 10 holes in Thursday's first round of the US Open and appeared to injure his left wrist blasting out of Merion's dense rough.
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, might have hurt himself with his second shot on the first hole, following an errant tee shot by punching out of the deep grass.
Woods shook his left wrist after making the shot and later at the fifth hole seemed to wince after another shot to escape the tall grass, which had been made tougher by rains earlier in the day that delayed his start by three hours and 32 minutes.
The four-time US Open champion was shaking his wrist again after a blast out of the rough at the 11th.
At the very least, the wrist appeared to be an issue for Woods that contributed to a disappointing performance by the pre-tournament favourite, who would match the career record for US Open triumphs with a victory this week.
Woods has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open, where he limped to victory on what proved to be a broken leg. He has been nagged by knee and leg injuries since then as well as the infamous sex scandal revealed in 2009.
The latest injury fear brought back memories of a wrist injury suffered by Woods as an amateur at the 1995 US Open at Shinnecock.
Woods had to withdraw because of a wrist injury suffered when he tried to blast a ball out of dense underbrush.
Woods sandwiched two bogeys around a birdie in the first three holes of his roller coaster round, which came while paired alongside second-ranked Rory McIlroy and third-ranked Masters champion Adam Scott in the feature group.
Woods took another bogey at the fifth but answered with a birdie on the very next hole, only to make another bogey at the par-3 ninth.
At the 11th, Woods had a 2 1/2-foot par putt when darkness stopped play. He elected not to attempt the putt until play resumed on Friday morning.
"It's going to be a fast night," Woods said after his round. "I've got a lot of holes to play tomorrow. And hopefully I can play a little better than I did today."
Woods did not use the weather disruptions as an excuse for his struggles but also did not mention his wrist in comments provided by the US Golf Association.
"It's kind of the way the tour has been this year," Woods said. "We've had a lot of bad weather this year and this is the way it has been."