SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Three holes into his 27th U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson called over a rules official for a question rarely heard.

“Is there a rule that allows me to see the ball when I hit it?” he asked.

There was no relief for Mickelson. Not on the 12th hole. Not at many others.

And he wasn’t alone.

Mickelson was in the marquee group Thursday, which featured three players who have a dozen majors among them. And because USGA officials try to have a sense of humor, they put together the only three active players who have three legs of the career Grand Slam.

Mickelson shot a 77. He had the lowest score in the group.

Jordan Spieth shot a 78, his highest score in a major.

Rory McIlroy, who came bouncing into this major full of confidence and affection for Shinnecock Hills, was 10-over par through 11 holes. He played even par the rest of the way and shot an 80 for his highest score in the U.S. Open.

How did this happen? Hard to say. Mickelson and McIlroy wouldn’t talk to the media.

This was a painful to watch from the start at No. 10, where Spieth made bogey with a three-putt from long range and Mickelson went over the green. That’s to be expected at the U.S. Open.

It quickly unraveled for Spieth.

From a bunker right on the par-3 11th, his shot came out strong toward the hole and went just far enough to catch a slope and roll out some 15 yards. His first pitch came back to his feet. His second pitch nearly did. He used a putter and hit that 6 feet by the hole.

Twenty-five minutes after he teed off, it looked as though his Open could be over. He made the putt for triple bogey, leaving him at 4 over through two holes.

“When I hit the bunker shot, I thought I hit a good shot,” Spieth said.

“I played the aggressive route and it hurts you. You can’t really do that at the U.S. Open. When you’re out of position you have to just give yourself a chance to save par, and if you make bogey, you make bogey.”

Twenty-three-year-old Scott Gregory shot 22 over par – dead last in the opening round of the U.S. Open – and then cheerfully answered every question.

“I’ve shot quite a big number today,” Gregory said. “Everyone has bad days. Look at Tiger, Rory and all of them.”

The 2016 British Amateur winner guessed he hasn’t shot in the 90s since he was 15 years old.

“It’s been a long time,” he said. “It’s not the week I wanted to revisit it.”