Tiger Woods hit his ball where he wasn't supposed to today and paid the price with a strained ligament in his left wrist that forced him to withdraw from his first U.S. Open championship after his drive this afternoon at the sixth hole.

"I'm kind of bummed out," said Woods, the 19-year-old Stanford freshman and U.S. amateur champion. "I felt like I was going to make the cut."

But on the third hole today he hit a 1-iron off the tee left in the tall fescue. From there, he tried to whack it out with a wedge, but said, "Something tweaked in my wrist. . . . I tried to play with it but it got progressively worse."

On the fifth hole, Woods said he hit another drive into the same variety of tall grass and tried to hit another wedge out again but couldn't get a proper grip on the club and made it worse. He hit one more drive at No. 6 "and I said That's it.' "

Woods, playing with defending Open champion Ernie Els and first-round leader Nick Price in front of another huge gallery, was treated with ice by PGA Tour trainers at the clubhouse. When Woods appeared later at a news conference, his wrist was heavily taped. Woods had knee surgery last December and hurt his right shoulder earlier this spring, but said he's never had a problem with either wrist.

He said he was told he might have a chance to play in the Northeast Amateur championship in Rhode Island next week. He also indicated he was told he should be completely healed in time for him to play in his first British Open at St. Andrews in mid-July.

"This is what happens when you hit it in the long grass," Woods said. "You are not supposed to hit it there." Surprise Contender

One day, William Murchison will be able to tell his grandchildren he led the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills after nine holes. There's a very good chance Murchison will have to repeat the story many times because there probably will be many grandchildren.

Murchison is a 38-year-old father of eight now living in Orlando who takes his wife and children on the road with him in a 15 passenger van while he plays the Nike Tour. His 14-year-old daughter Jennifer caddies for him while the rest of the family forms a gallery.

On Thursday he was 2 under after nine holes and leading the 95th Open until disaster struck on a back nine including an 8 at the 450-yard 18th hole that got him in at 76. Today, he posted a 77 and failed to make the cut, but he'll always have the memory of the first 2 1/2 hours Thursday, when he was leading America's national championship of golf.

"I enjoy tournament golf," said Murchison, who has played the PGA Tour several times, with a best finish of 12th at the B.C. Open in 1980.

"I'm a good front-runner," he said. "I like to be in front. It doesn't make me nervous to see my name up there."

Nor did it make Jennifer nervous, either, even if she does only weigh 90 pounds and must lug her dad's 45-pound bag every day. "It's fun," she said. "No, I don't play. I don't like it. I like to watch him play."

"The three requirements for a caddie are show up, keep up, and shut up," Murchison said. "She's never been late. She's quiet and she's one of the few who can keep up with me. I'm a very fast walker." Bear's Bad Day

Jack Nicklaus was up on the leader board for a while Thursday before fading to 1-over 71 in the first round. Today he started with a 39 on the front side, had three bogeys in his first four back nine holes and soared to an 81, matching his worst-ever round in an Open, and missed the cut.

"I can't say much. I played terribly, he said. "I'm a little tired of working on my game right now. I thought I had something, but putting it in one day before the Open I couldn't handle it. What I'm working on will work. I'll play better as the year goes on." CAPTION: U.S. Amateur champion Tiger Woods examines his injured left wrist after he was forced to withdraw from his first U.S. Open when he sprained a ligament.