If Tiger Woods fails to win this week’s kickoff to four FedEx Cup playoff events, the world No. 1 may want to blame Mother Nature.
Woods, in search of his sixth PGA Tour win of the season and first ever at The Barclays, was on a serious roll, canning back-to-back-to-back birdies on his fifth, sixth and seventh holes of the day (Nos. 14, 15 and 16) to climb within a stroke of the early leaders, when dangerous weather halted play for the second time at Liberty National Golf Course.
Rain caused the first delay, which lasted two hours and 23 minutes, with the second coming at 12:47 p.m. ET and showing no signs of ending any time soon.
Right now, the media center leaderboard says Mickelson will tee off at 3:36 & Kaymer at 3:58. Both are very, very optimistic IMO. #golf— David Dusek (@Golfweek_Dusek) August 22, 2013
Woods entered the week with a 766-point lead over Matt Kuchar in the FedEx Cup standings. Clearly, he wants to put as much daylight between himself and Kuchar and other contenders in the race for the $10 million-filled trophy that the winner will lift at the end of next month’s Tour Championship.
Woods, who was eyeing a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole (his eighth) when the horn blew play dead, is the only two-time winner of the Cup and seemed intent on not letting a stinkin’ soft mattress doom his chances of capturing a third.
"Theoretically, you can win every tournament of the year and not be the FedEx champion. I mean, whoever is in the top five, whoever wins that event, wins the FedExCup," Woods told reporters on Wednesday, ahead of his Thursday morning tee time in Jersey City. "So it will be interesting to see what happens. You're basically playing for the top five positioning going into the Tour Championship, win it, and that will assure you being the champion of the playoffs."
For sure, the world No. 1 was on a mission to finish in the top five to give himself the best odds of slamming the door on any other player-of-the-year candidates.
"It would mean a lot [to be named player of the year]. That's voted on by the players, so when you get the respect and the hats‑off by your peers, that's something that we don't take lightly," Woods said. "We take that as pretty prideful and any time you get the respect and honor of your peers, it means something even more special."
Prior to the second weather delay, Woods had found every green and missed just one fairway in regulation, and had needed just 11 putts through seven holes, according to PGATour.com. He was in a tie for fourth place with seven others, one stroke shy of early leaders Jason Day, Kevin Stadler and Matt Every.
The best finish at The Barclays for Woods, who won the FedEx Cup in 2007 and 2009, was T2 in 2009.