SAN DIEGO — There was more than a little club slamming on Thursday from Matthew Wolff in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Playing the difficult South Course at Torrey Pines alongside Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, Wolff had an awful day, suffering a pair of triple-bogey 7s on his way to shooting a six-over-par 78, with the only highlight coming from hole-out birdie out of the back bunker on the par-5 18th.
The suffering wasn’t over, though, with the 21-year-old Wolff informing the PGA Tour after his round that he’d have to withdraw with a hand injury. On Instagram, Wolff inferred that he’d previously injured the hand, and he was seen taping up the pinky finger on his right hand midway through the first round. He also was shown numerous times flicking his club on the ground in anger.
“This week I’ve been battling an injury with my right hand that I’ve fought to play through but has unfortunately continued to worsen over the last 24 hours,” Wolff said on Instagram. “It’s become clear I need to make the tough but right decision to properly address the pain in order to be able to play at 100 percent as quickly as possible. I’m disappointed to withdraw from one of my favorite events of the year.”
Wolff made 14 pars in his round, but he had two ugly blowup holes. At the par-4 seventh, he found a bunker off the tee, his ball plugged against the lip forcing him to play a safe shot just to get out of the sand. His third shot missed the green left into a collection area, and his first chip didn’t make it up the slope, coming back to his feet. He found the green with his fifth and two-putted from 22 feet.
Then at the par-4 10th, Wolff hooked his tee shot out of bounds, missed the fairway with his third shot, found a greenside bunker with his fourth, and ended up two-putting from 14 feet for another 7.
Since missing the cut at the Masters in November, Wolff has played only twice—in the unofficial QBE Shootout and last week’s The American Express, where he tied for 40th. A Southern California native, Wolff tied for 21st in his Farmers debut last year.
There were only five scores worse than Wolff’s 78 on South, including a 79 by Harris English and 80s by Charles Howell III and Camilo Villegas. In the first round, the South played nearly four strokes harder than the North and 13 of the top 15 scores came from the North.