PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Three winners emerged from the first round of the U.S. Open, and you won't find any listed among the 156-player field.
Winner No. 1: USGA setup man Mike Davis.
No one broke 69, but still no one ripped Davis. Hammering the USGA for creating obscene playing conditions used to be a hobby for many pros.
"It was very playable," Phil Mickelson said of the 7,040-yard layout. "Mike Davis is the greatest asset the USGA has, in my opinion."
And Mickelson felt this way after shooting a 4-over 75 devoid of a single birdie. Tiger Woods also failed to beat par on a single hole.
How many times has that happened to Woods in a major? Only twice, in the first round of the 2003 Masters (4-over 76) and Day 3 of the 1999 British Open (3-over 74).
Woods, who missed a 10-footer for par on the 18th, called the bouncy, fickle greens "very tricky and very difficult" and said those playing in the afternoon "can't go low."
Winner No. 2: Pebble Beach.
On a crisp, breezy, sunny day, with waves crashing and seals barking, Pebble never has looked more beautiful.
"(But) if you start staring at the flowers, there's a bogey or a double waiting for you," warned Jim Furyk, who opened with a 1-over 72. "You really have to be focused."
Winner No. 3: The U.S. Open psych job.
"The scoring should have been better than it was today," said Padraig Harrington, who rallied for a 2-over 73. "The greens were quite receptive, and there were a lot of (easy) pin positions. I think the scoring would be better if it were a regular event … and not called the U.S. Open."
The names on top: Shaun Micheel, who said he's drawing inspiration from his mother, Donna, who is fighting liver and lung cancer; Englishman Paul Casey and Zimbabwe native Brendon de Jonge, all of whom shot 2-under 69. Several solid veterans shot 70, namely K.J. Choi, Mike Weir and Ian Poulter.
"It wasn't flashy," Donald said. "Just a solid round."
Donald made what he called a "clumsy" double bogey on No. 2 after a poor chip and three-putt from 15 feet. But that didn't wreck his enjoyment of the day.
"When you're out there five hours," he said, "it's nice to switch off occasionally and enjoy the views."
Mickelson's 75 wasn't much to look at. In failing to record a birdie for the first time in 95 rounds, he hit a reasonable 11 greens. But he needed 32 putts, going bogey-bogey-bogey on Nos. 16, 17 and 18.
"I thought going without any doubles was good," he said. "(But) I have to make some birdies."
That he does. Or he risks letting Pebble Beach beat him again.