Week after cart accident, Kerr toughs it out at US Open

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Cristie Kerr hits from the 12th tee, during the first round of the U.S. Women's Open Golf tournament, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON – Cristie Kerr expected the pain. She was determined to play Thursday in the U.S. Women's Open just six days after dislocating three ribs when her golf cart slammed into a pole in darkness.

The surprise was when she broke down in tears after an even-par 71.

Kerr took bogey on her opening hole at Cypress Creek when she anticipated pain in her chest, flinched on a sand wedge and chunked it. She pressed on with two birdies, two bogeys and plenty of chances.

The chest pain came from the accident. She can't remember if it hit the steering wheel early Friday morning last week at the Volunteers of America Classic outside Dallas. She said she and her caddie were thrown from the cart. She recalls the impact, and landing on her chest.

And that's when Kerr, the 43-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion and 20-time winner known for her grit and bluntness, was overcome with emotion.

“I'm sorry,” she said, using the crook of her elbow to wipe away tears. “Maybe I shouldn't talk about it. I remember landing on my chest and it was awful.”

And then she straightened.

“But I'm here. And I played. And I was tough today,” she said. “And I feel like I'm going to keep getting better every day. God darn it, I'm going to do this.”