Tiger Woods ended his 5-under 66 opening round at the BMW Championship with a bomb for a birdie on the ninth hole, but the second seed in the penultimate FedExCup playoff game was hardly elated with his play on the greens.
"I'm not exactly real happy," Woods told reporters about leaving a passel of points out there on the Conway Farms course. "I played well and I just didn't get much out of that round."
Woods, who found 10 of 14 fairways in regulation and 15 of 18 greens, settled for a tie for third, three shots behind a blistering Brandt Snedeker (bogey-free 63), heading into Friday’s second round. Missed short putts, all within five feet, however, left Woods bemoaning his wasted effort.
"I certainly wasted a lot of shots out there today. I missed three short ones and played the par-5s stupendously," he said with more than just a hint of sarcasm. "One of those days.''
Two three-putts accounted for the bogeys on the scorecard for Woods, who was also dissatisfied with his inability to make birdies on the three par-5 holes. Even drilling a 25-footer for birdie on his final hole, No. 9, did not put a smile on the face of the world No. 1, who horseshoed a couple of putts.
"I missed three little short ones in there and played the par-5s even-par," he said. "That’s just not very good."
Woods came into the week just out of first place in FEC points after finishing T65 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Henrik Stenson, who drew Tiger and Adam Scott (No. 3 in the standings) for the first two rounds in Chicago, began the event with a 14-point edge on Woods after winning at TPC Boston two weeks ago.
With three rounds to go in the 70-player, no-cut tourney, Woods was projected to maintain his second-place slot after last year’s $10 million winner, Snedeker, rode a blazing hot flat stick and seven straight birdies to a one-stroke lead over Zach Johnson and a projected top spot for next week’s Tour Championship.
Woods, who has been known to bellyache about slow putting surfaces, was, like many of this week’s contestants, playing on a course he had never seen before Wednesday’s pro-am.
"The greens weren’t as fast as they were yesterday," said Woods, 55th in the strokes gained-putting category on Thursday.
"More than anything, its reading the greens," said Woods, who observed on Wednesday that he would rely on caddie Joe LaCava to help him negotiate the strange track. "The familiarity, I just don’t quite have it, and some of the putts are a little but tricky here and there.
"But Joey did a great job of getting the numbers and getting a feel for the golf course," Woods added. "We talked about it at length yesterday as we were playing the pro-am, and what the wind direction was going to be for today and tomorrow and had a really good game plan.''
In the meantime, defending BMW champion Rory McIlroy continued his season-long struggles, shooting a 78 that included a triple-bogey on the par-4 first hole and a double on the par-3 11th. In a tie for 66th after the first round, McIlroy came into the week at No. 41 in points and was projected to fall to 54th, well out of the top 30 who will advance to East Lake for the playoff finale.