Golf: US Open - Olazabal is forced to withdraw

US Open: Masters champion breaks his hand hitting a hotel wall after disappointing opening round
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JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL, the Masters champion who started as one of the favourites for the 99th US Open at Pinehurst No 2, was forced to withdraw from the championship yesterday morning with a broken bone in his right hand. The intense Spaniard started with a disappointing 75 on Thursday after which he attempted to take his frustration out on his hotel room wall.

"I was upset with myself and made a mistake," Olazabal said. "I wanted to do so well this week and I was so disappointed at the way I played yesterday I punched the wall. I did something I should not have done and now I am paying the price. There was no way I could play. It will take time to heal."

Olazabal had X-rays yesterday morning and had a cast moulded for his hand before leaving the course. Estimates vary as to how long he will be missing from action, between three and five weeks, but his participation in next month Open at Carnoustie must be in doubt.

Although he had been playing down his chances of becoming the first player for over a quarter of a century to win the first two majors of the year, the set-up of the No 2 course should have suited Olazabal's short game skills. Instead, Tiger Woods was trying to harness his shotmaking creativity on a course drying out in the morning sun. With the greens getting harder, scoring was far from easy and Woods had to settle for a 71 to drop back to one under par. The 23-year-old's problems started at the par-five fourth, where he took four to get down from a greenside bunker. Birdies at the ninth and 10th were cancelled out by two three-putts.

Woods's reign as the clubhouse leader lasted only moments as Payne Stewart, the 1991 winner, managed to get to three under. Stewart, who was runner- up to Lee Janzen for the second time last year, had got to four under after seven before bogeys at the eighth and ninth. Patience, though, is one of Stewart's strongest suits and he came home in 34 for a 69.

Under the 10-shot rule, Lee Westwood was hoping to still make the cut until he bogeyed the 16th and had a double-bogey five at the short 17th. A 76 left the Englishman on nine over to continue his disappointing run of late. Having complained of not finding a happy medium between his pulls and pushes, Westwood missed the first green on the left and the second on the right for two opening bogeys before the first of his two double- bogeys at the eighth.

A quartet of late starters, including David Duval and Phil Mickelson, led the way after Thursday's first round. Among those just one stroke behind were not just Woods and Stewart but, more surprisingly, John Daly. "I'm about as much in shock as everybody else is right now," said the "Wild Thing". "I don't know where it came from. I just focus better in the majors."

Daly's season has been as inconsistent as usual and his past record at the US Open did not suggest he would be a contender at Pinehurst. He did, however, finish third in the Tour Championship here in 1991, just after he had catapulted himself to stardom by winning the first of his two majors, the USPGA.

It would be a good memory to recall, if only he could. "I think I played so drunk here in 1991," Daly said, "I don't even remember the holes. But I love the course. It is great not to have to hit two and three-irons like a lot of US Opens. It is a lot of fun to be able to play golf the way it is meant to be played."

For Daly, that means grip and rip it. The shaved surrounds to the greens also remind him of St Andrews, where he won the Open in 1995. A win here would put the 33-year-old recovering alcoholic, who is still $9m (pounds 5.6m) down on his gambling exploits in the mid-90s, three-quarters of the way to a grand slam.

"After what I've gone through and all the downs it makes it so much nicer to have won two majors," he said. "My career has not been the greatest but I would rather have won two majors than 15 other tournaments. What I don't know, really don't know, is who is going to show up tomorrow. That's the way this year has been. It's a little scary." Instead of the three birdies in a row with which he opened the first round, Daly had pars at the first five yesterday before dropping three shots on the rest of the outward half.

As a father of two daughters himself, Daly was sympathetic to Mickelson, whose wife may go into labour during the tournament. Daly said: "If he's got a six-shot lead and I'm in second three ahead of everybody else, I'd pat him on the butt and tell him to go home. With the cheque I'd get, I'd go to the baby store and buy them all the baby clothes they need."

US OPEN (Pinehurst No 2, North Carolina) Early second-round scores (US unless stated): 142 K Yokoo (Japan) 68 74. 143 D Love 70 73. 144 J Leonard 69 75. 146 S Struver (Ger) 70 76. 147 J Kelly 73 74, B Burns 71 76. 148 A Magee 73 75. 149 R Zokol (Can) 73 76. 151 B Gilder 74 77, G March 72 79, J Williamson 73 78, G Norman (Aus) 73 78. 155 C Bowden 75 80 157 J Gallagher 77 80. 158 M Mielke 78 80. 159 J White 76 83. 160 R Welborn 82 78, *M Call 81 79.

* Denotes amateurs.


(US unless stated, par 70)


D Duval, P Mickelson, B Mayfair, P Goydos


D Berganio, K Yokoo (Japan), T Woods, P Stewart, J Daly


H Sutton, C Franco (Para), V Singh (Fiji), L Mize, B Watts, B Tway, J Leonard, C Parry (Aus), D A Weibring, J Furyk, B Fabel, T Herron, R Mediate, C Smith


S McRoy, M Gronberg (Swe), S Stricker, S Struver (Ger), D Love, S Pate, B Estes, G Day, T Bjorn (Den), G Kraft, E Toledo (Mex)


C Tidland, N Price (Zim), P Price (GB), J Parnevik (Swe), S Hoch, B Hughes (Aus), S Elkington (Aus), J McGovern, G Sisk, B Burns, M O'Meara, J Maggert, K Triplett, J Huston, F Funk, S Allan (Aus), D Zinkon


T Tryba, T Scherrer, M Slawter, C Montgomerie (GB), *T McKnight, S Jones, P Azinger, S Cink, E Els (SA), O Uresti, J Tyska, G March, *H Kuehne, C Perry, B Cheesman, S Verplank, L Mattiace, E Ciotti, J Freeman


B Chamblee, T Lehman, R Freeman, J Carter, F Couples, M Weir (Can), MA Jimenez (Sp), *B Molder, K Clearwater, S Micheel, A Magee, J Kelly, R Zokol (Can), J Williamson, G Norman (Aus), L Westwood (GB), S Appleby (Aus), D Hart, D Clarke (GB), O Browne, J Sindelar, B Heintz, C Zambri, G Gregory


D Toms, C Riley, *A Barnes, N Begay, C Campbell, J Sluman, B Friend, J Durant, F Zoeller, J Haas, N Faldo (GB), J Cook, S Lowery, B Crenshaw, M Muehr, D Lebeck, B Gilder, C Pavin, L Janzen, S Gump, M Brooks, T Kite, R Allenby (Aus), G Hallberg, G Masson


R Goosen (SA), J M Olazabal (Sp), S Torrance (GB), B Wadkins, S Flesch, G Hjertstedt (Swe), K Kulzer, C Bowden, P-U Johansson (Swe), P Baker (GB), P Sjoland (Swe), T Watson


J Street, H Irwin, *M Kuchar, J White, S Leaney (Aus)


M Stone, J Gallagher, B Glasson, D Barron, R Russell, J Stuart, G Willis, A Ochoa, R Philo


J Nicklaus, C Strange, M Mielke


J Dimarco, M Calcavecchia, T Loustalot, S Fawcett, E Pfister

Other scores

80 M Ozaki (Japan)

81 *M Call

82 R Welborn

* Denotes amateurs