Nicklaus, Woods find 2 ways out U.S. OPEN


SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- The legend and legend-in-making went out similarly yesterday in the second round of the 95th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Both were hurting.

Jack Nicklaus, a four-time champion playing in his 39th Open, left after missing the cut by equaling the highest score (81) that he has shot in 144 Open rounds.

Tiger Woods, making his debut at the Open, withdrew because of a sprained left wrist. The injury occurred when Woods tried to hit out of deep brush on the third hole. He reinjured the wrist on the fifth hole and withdrew on the sixth.

It is only the seventh time Nicklaus has failed to make the cut in an Open, the first since 1992. His only previous 81 came in the opening round of the 1970 Open at Hazeltine. Woods made the cut in his only previous major, this year's Masters.

"I wasn't very good, it's that simple," said Nicklaus, 55, whose two-round total of 12-over 152 was the highest he has shot at an Open since 1970, when he made the cut. "I would hate for what I did today to be my last round at the Open."

Nicklaus got a strong reception when he walked up the 18th fairway. It was certainly not as emotional as the one Arnold Palmer received last year at Oakmont. But Nicklaus' playing partners, Andy North and Ian Baker-Finch, allowed him to walk up to the green by himself.

"I may never do that again," he said, again raising the possibility that this was his last Open.

But it might not be. Nicklaus, who was playing here with his third special exemption, is all but guaranteed a spot in next year's Open at Oakland Hills, outside Detroit. Palmer received five special exemptions.

When someone wanted to know if his 40th Open would likely be his last, Nicklaus said, "That's a good, round number."

Nicklaus has been asked for several years when he will consider giving up participation in regular PGA Tour events. Yesterday, he said, "Maybe it's time to consider playing the odd event.

"Sometimes I think my judgment is better than anybody else's. Sometimes I don't think my judgment is as good as anybody else's. You get frustrated when you feel like you're doing what you want to do and then the results aren't right. I hit far more bad shots than good shots."

This certainly won't be the last Open for Woods. But the 19-year-old from Cypress, Calif., likely will have to win a second straight U.S. Amateur this summer to be invited next year.

Woods reacted to the injury like a teen-age phenom who knows he will play in plenty of Opens.

"I'm kind of bummed out about the fact that I'm not playing," said Woods, who was 4-over through five holes and 8-over for the Open. "I thought I could make the cut."

Woods wasn't the only player to withdraw because of injury. Loren Roberts, who lost to Ernie Els in a 20-hole playoff last year at Oakmont, pulled out with a back injury before starting the round.

Perhaps the toughest ending came for Jerry Courville Jr., a 36-year-old amateur from Norwalk, Conn. Playing in his first Open, Courville triple-bogeyed 18 and missed the cut by three shots.

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