Maybe finalizing his divorce was just what Tiger Woods needed to get the focus off his personal life and back to his golf game. Because Woods has put on a vintage display so far at the first round of the Barclays at Ridgestone. Indeed, with the fairways damp and the wind minimal, the course is ripe for low-scoring, and Woods has certainly obliged.
Teeing off in the first group due to being so far down the FedEx Cup standings, Woods has capitalized on the easy conditions at Ridgestone with a scorching first round of 5-under through 16 holes, good for a share of the lead with Ryan Palmer, Josh Teater and Brian Gay.
Even more impressively, Woods has done this almost without taking his driver out of the bag, eschewing it for his fairway woods and irons off the tees. The result has been few missed fairways, more greens in regulation and a slew of birdies. Woods started off his round particularly hot, birdieing four of his first seven holes, before cooling off a bit on the back nine.
Woods began the day in 113th place in the cumulative FedEx Cup standings due to his disastrous near-last place finish at the Bridgestone Invitational. Woods needs to move up to at least 100th in the current standings to qualify for Deutsche Bank Championship, and another 30 spots after that to make the BMW Championship field. Of course, winning the Barclays would certainly catapult Woods up the standings and erase the chance that he wouldn't advance in golf's playoffs.
Ryan Palmer got off to an absolutely unconscious start, recording birdies on the first five holes. Two pars sandwiched around two more birdies brought Palmer to 7-under on just the back nine, before he gave away his lead with a double-bogey on the tenth hole.
Meanwhile, Josh Teater and Brian Gay have made it a quartet of golfers at the top of the leaderboard, after their own hot starts. Teater began the day to 3-under at the turn (courtesy of five birdies and a pair of bogeys), and another duo of birdies along with a handful of pars has gotten him to 5-under through 16 holes. Gay began his day on the tenth hole, recording four birdies on the seemingly tougher back nine. After birdieing the first hole, Gay is 5-under through 10 holes, in one of the lone bogey-free rounds on the day.
For more on Woods and the Barclays, check out our golf blog, Waggle Room.