SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - David Duval said it was "the best I've felt on a golf course in two years." Since he shot 83 on Thursday during the first round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, that would suggest he has a long way to go in his comeback.
But Duval, who had not played in a PGA Tour event since the Las Vegas Invitational in October, seemed pleased more with being back. He got a lot of support from the gallery, acknowledged their cheers and appeared unconcerned about the high number.
"If it was an event other than the U.S. Open or maybe the Open Championship, my score would have been a little better," he said. "There's some kinks to work out and some rust to get rid of, but at least I did a lot of the things I wanted to do today and most importantly, I enjoyed being out there."
Duval had two birdies and ended his round with five straight bogeys followed by a double bogey. He hit just four of 14 fairways, not surprising given his struggles off the tee before he decided to give it a rest last fall. Duval, 32, the winner of 13 PGA Tour events, has not won since his victory at the 2001 British Open.
"It goes without saying I'm not tournament ready," he said. "Then add the U.S. Open golf course in the mix, and that adds some more shots to the score. ... I felt like I hit some really nice shots. I putted really good. I hadn't seen greens like these in quite some time. All in all, I would call it an enormous victory for me."
Duval's 83 matched his highest on the PGA Tour. He shot 83 at the Masters and British Open last year, as well as the Greater Hartford Open.
WHO IS HE?: Few in golf have ever heard of David Roesch, but you can bet the United States Golf Association knows who he is today.
In his 2-under-par 68 during the first round, he had a mini-rant concerning a slow-play warning. Roesch, a mini-tour player from Milwaukee whose biggest victory to date is a win on the 2002 Hooters Tour, said he got put on the clock after hitting his approach at the par-4 fourth hole. No problem, he said - except for the fact that he found himself waiting on the next tee.
"I was mad," Roesch said. "I would have been fine if we got to the next tee and we were still behind, but we got to the tee and we stand there for five minutes and that guy (official) runs and hides. I don't know if I'm going to get in trouble for this, but that's nonsense.
"I got a little rattled there. ... I don't know how this works. I've never been out there. If it was Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson and that would have happened, no way. I'm just trying to do well. I take a few extra seconds on one shot and the guy comes over and tells me one more and I get a stroke (penalty)?"
USGA spokesman Marty Parkes said it was actually Roesch's group that was warned about keeping up. A one-stroke penalty can be assessed after one warning.
BAD SIGN: In each of Woods' eight major championship victories, he shot 70 or better in the first round. So a 72 does not bode well for Woods, who made just one birdie and hit only five of 14 fairways.
"There's an awful long way to go," Woods said. "We haven't seen the wind up yet. If that ever happens, if it ever comes up, this golf course is pretty tough. I drove it all right. I hit probably three poor drives. I lost them to the right. But other than that, I really hit some good shots that didn't end up in the fairway. They got some bounces. It's just the nature of the golf course."
AROUND SHINNECOCK: Dade City's Tim Petrovic shot 69. ... Jeff Maggert, who is tied for fourth, played his first tournament as a pro at the 1986 U.S. Open here, but missed the cut. ... Defending champion Jim Furyk, in his first tournament since March wrist surgery, had a respectable 72. "My wrist is fine," he said. "Now I have to focus on my game a little bit."