“He brings the energy out there,” Justin Rose said.
Rose, however, has his own support in town. Three years ago, he won the AT&T National just down the road at Aronimink.
“The Philly crowd has been great for me,” Rose said. “They have been very supportive of me this week. But obviously Phil, the U.S. Open fan favorite, I think there’s a lot of goodwill for him.”
Not for long.
He bogeyed Nos. 4-7 to totally spoil his round Friday. Donald was at 4 under Thursday before play was suspended, and finished with a 2-under 68 on Friday. He added a 72 in the second round to leave him even par for the tournament.
The English star had a run of five bogeys in six holes on his back nine in the second round.
“The greens have been tricky to read all week,” he said. “They seem to be breaking a little bit more than I’m seeing, hence a couple of lip outs. But you try not to panic in U.S. Opens.”
Donald, playing in his 10th U.S., has never won a major. The former world No. 1 played a pair of practice rounds last week at Merion to get used to the course. He even posed for a photo with David Graham, winner of the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion.
“I asked him, `What’s the secret?’” Donald said. “And he said, `Keep it in the short stuff.’ Obviously, I think most of us know that and it’s all about doing it.”
The 35-year-old Donald failed to make the cut last year in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco because of putting failures. He has never finished better than 12th in an Open (2006) and missed the cut three times since his 2002 debut. He was 45th in 2011 and 47th in 2010.
Donald and Lee Westwood are the only players to be No. 1 without having won a major.
He’s glad to at least be in the hunt this year.
“I haven’t played very well, but when I saw this place last week, I thought it was a good fit for my game,” he said. “It’s nice to come here and feel like I’m swinging pretty well and I’ve got a chance. So, hopefully, I can throw a good one in tomorrow and really be in the mix come Sunday.”