The world No. 1 only plays for 2 days

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“I think maybe it’s just a facet of that it’s U.S. Open golf,” he said. “It’s so different that you’re not always going to get the best guys up on top of the leaderboard. It’s so difficult that I think sometimes you get guys that you are not used to hearing about. You don’t always get the best of the best in the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open.”

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RICKIE‘S RECOVERY: The biggest scare Rickie Fowler had at the U.S. Open had nothing to do with Olympic Club.

It was his Titleist.

In a mystery that remains unsolved, a rogue golf ball got into Fowler’s bag before the first round Thursday, complete with the orange dot he uses to distinguish it. When he went to tee up his ball on his second hole, he noticed by the markings that it was the 2007 version of the Pro V1.

The problem? Fowler uses the 2009 version.

The rules don’t allow players to switch the model of a golf ball in the middle of a round, thus the scare. That was the only such ball Fowler had, meaning he would have to use that the rest of the day and hope he didn’t lose it.

Luckily for Fowler, he saw his agent in the gallery, and sent him up the steep hill to the clubhouse to find more of the 2007 version. The mission was a success, and Fowler had enough of the 2007 balls to get him through his round of 72.

Fowler said he used the 2007 version for his first few years, and it wasn’t enough of a difference to affect him.

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A SLOW BURN: A USGA rules official warned the group of Ian Poulter, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar that they were about to go on the clock for being out of position. This did not sit well with Poulter, who said the group would speed up only to stand around and wait.

That’s exactly what happened one hole later, all three of them standing in the sixth fairway for about five minutes as the group ahead was on the green.

Told that the group was no longer on the clock, it was all Poulter could take.

“Why are you doing this?” Poulter said to the official, who wanted no part of an argument and simply shrugged his shoulders. “This is stupid.”

Stricker was not thrilled with the move either, being put on the clock for less than a hole. Poulter wouldn’t let it go, however, and said he wanted to speak to another official. Minutes later, European Tour chief referee Andy McFee arrived in a cart.

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