Originally, No. 17 wasn't even supposed to be an island. Things changed when the sand surrounding the area that is now the green was used to build other fairways. Course designer Pete Dye struggled with design ideas until his wife, Alice, suggested an island green.
Now, the island could be the most recognizable golf hole in the world. It has its own Web site, its own T-shirts and its own fans. Thousands of people come to this tournament each year not to see Tiger Woods or Ernie Els, but to see No. 17.
There's a huge hill in the back of the green and another, even larger, running down the left side of the hole. Fans arrive early each morning to claim prime spots.
They certainly got a show Thursday. The hole played at an average of 3.693 strokes, on pace to shatter the previous tournament record of 3.368 set in 1984.
"One thing beyond anything else that's going to make more guys hit in the water on 17 is the wind," Jim Furyk said. "It makes it that much more tougher."
DIMARCO'S INJURY: Chris DiMarco, winless since 2002, shot 68 for his best round of the year. He did it despite a shoulder injury that could require surgery.
DiMarco revealed the injury Thursday, saying he received two cortisone shots in the last month to alleviate chronic pain. His left shoulder has been popping on nearly every swing, causing soreness and throwing off his timing.
He hopes that building strength in the shoulder will solve the problem. But he's also considering arthroscopic surgery at the end of the year to clean out some bone spurs. He said tests also revealed arthritis in his AC joint and tendinitis in his rotator cuff.
"It's going to take about a month and a half to be fully back to where I need to be," DiMarco said. "Right now, with the run of majors coming up, I can't really take any time off. So resting it and strengthening it is the biggest thing. I might strengthen it enough where it stops popping and I might not even need surgery."
"I think it runs in the family," he said. "It's been bothering me for years now, whether it was my right or my left. Both of them are not good."
PLAYER WITHDRAWALS: Darren Clarke, Daisuke Maruyama and David Howell withdrew from the tournament.
Clarke withdrew after six holes, citing a hamstring injury. He was 1 over.
Maruyama played the entire first round, shot a 13-over 85 and then called it quits because of a sore back. Maruyama had four double bogeys in the final five holes.
Howell played two holes, bogeyed both of them, and withdrew because of a back injury.