Michael Whitehead heard members of the galleries mumbling it under their breath during his round this morning, exactly as they had in practice rounds earlier this week: “That’s Tiger’s replacement,” they said.
“After good shots, luckily,” said Whitehead, who shot 6-over 77 that included four consecutive bogeys beginning at No. 12.
Whitehead is in fact here only because Tiger Woods withdrew last week, citing lingering issues with his left leg. Whitehead had not expected to be at Congressional this week after losing in a three-way playoff at a sectional qualifier in Dallas.
Then he got a call from a USGA official informing him he could play at the most prestigious event in American golf.
“Since last Wednesday I was definitely looking forward to finally getting on the course and teeing it up,” said Whitehead, adding he was a bit overwhelmed playing in front of this many people, “so that part was comfortable.”