August 23, 2018

Woods Ends Round 1 at The Northern Trust At Even Par

PARAMUS, N.J. – Stuck between clubs most of the way, Tiger Woods posted an even-par 71 on Thursday in the opening round of The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club.

Competing in the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time since 2013, the two-time winner finished with two birdies and two bogeys. He is tied for 60th and trails Jamie Lovemark, Kevin Tway, Vaughn Taylor and Sean O’Hair by five strokes.

“I kept having the half-club and was never fully able to swing at it,” said Woods. “I kept having to play a little defensive because I was taking more club, trying to shape it and take spin off. Just one of those days.”

An early starter with Tommy Fleetwood and Marc Leishman, Woods was in scramble mode most of the round on the rain-softened, 7,385-yard layout. He hit only nine of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens but kept himself within striking distance with five par-saves and used 29 putts.

Starting on the ninth hole, Woods recorded eighth consecutive pars. He carded his first birdie at the 581-yard par-5 17th, flushing two shots just short of the green. Woods pinched a nifty chip three feet past the cup and converted.

After touring the back side in 1-under 35, he parred the first hole, then caught a bad break when his well-struck tee shot caromed over the green at the par-3 second and settled in thick rough. Woods gouged his second about 10 feet past the pin and two-putted for his first bogey.

He regained the lost shot at the par-5 third by sinking a 10-foot birdie putt, but sustained another bogey at the fifth. Woods parred the last three holes and wound up 1-over on the front nine.

Fifty-nine players shot 1-under or lower.

“Very bunched up board,” Woods said.

On Friday, Woods tees off at 12:55 p.m. ET with Fleetwood and Leishman. The low 70 and ties qualify for the weekend.

At the conclusion of play Sunday, top 100 players in the FedEx Cup points standings advance to the Dell Technologies Championship, Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at TPC Boston. Woods currently ranks No. 20.

Woods said he is looking forward to playing a head-to-head match against Phil Mickelson on Nov. 23 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The competition will be available on Pay-Per-View television.

“It’s an 18-hole boat race, so anybody can win,” said Woods. “We’re going to have fun doing something that’s never been done before, trying to showcase golf in a different way.”

Woods and Mickelson have already engaged in smack talk. Asked about the betting odds of him winning the $9 million, winner-take-all prize, Woods said, “I think I’m minus 180 right now. That’s all I’ve got to say.”