Mickelson and Woods kindle sparks of rivalry

With one huge exception, this first day of the US PGA Championship was like a US Open rerun, with a healthy quota of Britons figuring high up on a leader board packed with dramatic potential. The difference is, of course, Tiger Woods. Unlike Winged Foot, he will not be missing the cut here.

That much was obvious by yesterday's score of 69. It matched his playing partner Phil Mickelson as their head-to-head sparkled without ever really igniting. Saying that, they were well within touch of the six-under clubhouse lead of Lucas Glover and their presence is ominous. Could this be the major when they at last slug it out in the duel that will define their rivalry?

It was the question all Medinah was asking, although not perhaps Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. They were too caught up in their own challenges as they tried desperately, and in the main tremendously, to redress that strange statistic that says no European has lifted the Wanamaker Trophy for 76 years. For Lee Westwood, in particular, this day was about so much more than golf.

While his own 69 was marred somewhat by a bogey down the last ­ interestingly, Donald had done the same thing on the same hole 10 minutes earlier in his 68 ­ the fact that he was in any sort of contention was remarkable in itself.

If he was not a high-class sportsman, Westwood would have been with his wife, Laurae, at the funeral of Heather Clarke, the wife of his great friend Darren. Instead, after a remembrance ceremony at 6.30am ­ led by the prayers of the American Ryder Cup captain, Tom Lehman ­ he was thrown deep into the cauldron of competition and forced to wrap himself in all the self-absorption it requires. His emotions were going all over the place, but admirably his ball did not. How? "I had a job to do and just went out and did it," he said, the pain in his eyes belying that it had in any way been that simple. This was a feat of focus that will not have escaped Ian Woosnam.

In fact, the European Ryder Cup captain will have been pleased by a number of factors of yesterday's morning session, not least that the home flop of Hoylake seems to be now but a memory. As it is believed that he has already promised Clarke a K Club wild card, the nightmare scenario would be for Luke Donald to fall out of the automatic qualifying positions and so leave Westwood stranded. The 28-year-old showed he is not about to let that happen with a round lit up by a holed bunker shot on the 17th that he had the cheek to call "reasonably easy. I am trying to have a solid week to sort it all out," Donald added.

Glover happens to be on his own Ryder mission as he tries to leap into the top 10 by Sunday night's deadline. As he is right on the fringes, this was some useful beginning for the young South Carolinan, eight birdies outweighing two bogeys in his 65.

In truth, conditions could not have been much more benign for the early brigade. Not only was the breeze almost non-existent, but so too, in large sections of the course, were the fans. That had nothing to do with Chicago's indifference to the game, but all to do with the participants competing in Group 23. Put Woods and Mickelson together and the galleries will follow. "All" the galleries, that is.

Indeed, listening to the Woods supporters narrowly outdo those of Mickelson on the "You-da-manometer", it was impossible not to feel for Geoff Ogilvy, the "other" reigning major champion in the three-ball. In the event the Australian fared rather spectacularly in emulating the superpowers' 69 and surviving the distraction of a tussle which intriguingly swung both ways.

Mickelson took an early three-stroke lead after a birdie-birdie start; by the 12th Woods had hit back to turn the deficit into a one-shot advantage; and then the former was denied the final bragging rights only when his ball popped out at the last.

In between, there were enough glimpses of magic to promise something special this weekend. "We both played OK but had the chance to go lower," said Mickelson. Ogilvy knew it, the other players knew it, golf knew it. And everybody held their breath.

Scores from Medinah

US unless stated

Early First Round

66

C Riley, L Glover

67

B Andrade

68

S Cink

L Donald (GB)

J J Henry

R Allenby (Aus)

69

F Funk

L Westwood (GB)

P Mickelson

G Ogilvy (Aus)

T Woods

T Herron

H Frazar

B Mayfair

70

K Ferrie (GB)

M A Jimenez (Sp)

T Clark (SA)

R Palmer

G Bisconti

C Howell

R Goosen (SA)

M Campbell (NZ)

A Baddeley (Aus)

J Kelly

C Barlow

P Lonard (Aus)

B Faxon

71

A Romero (Arg), J Kane, D Toms, C Campbell, V Taylor, C DiMarco, Z Johnson, R Pampling (Aus), R Moore, D Yrene

72

M Small, S Flesch, A Hansen (Den), C Schwartzel (SA), M Weir (Can), J M Olazabal (Sp), B Curtis, S Verplank, S Schneiter, B Crane

73

H Tanihara (Japan), T Purdy, P Perez, D Duval, H Slocum, T Immelman (SA), K J Choi (S Kor)

74

B Estes, D Wilson, J Sindelar, S K Ho (S Kor), G Owen (GB), S Khan

75

R Beem, G McDowell (GB), P Harrington (Irl), G Fernandez-Castano (Sp), J Senden (Aus), C Villegas (Col), B Dredge (GB)

76

B Wetterich, J Edfors (Swe)

77

T Pernice, M Calcavecchia, T Hamilton, T Weinhart

78

J Aber, S Arnold

80

M Brown, T Bjorn (Den), N Dougherty (GB)

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence