So much for asking Tiger Woods what’s the first thing he wants to do as a single man. Judging from his early performance in the Barclays Tournament, the answer is pretty evident: he wants to win.

Just days removed from officially divorcing Swedish model Elin Nordegren, Tiger played his best round of golf in nearly a year, recording a 6-under par 65 in the first round of the Barclays Thursday. It was the first time Woods led a round since the PGA Tour Championship last September.

“It’s exciting to hit the ball flush again,” Woods said during the post round conference. “It’s something I’ve been missing all year.”

Woods has struggled mightily on the golf course since his adultery scandal leaked to the media last December. Perhaps the ongoing process of negotiating the divorce with his ex-wife impacted his performance on the greens.

But Woods has insisted that his struggles this season are more due to poor putting. He putted poorly again Friday which dropped his position on the leader board from first place to 14th after a second round score of 73, eight shots worst than his outstanding opener.

“I didn’t hit it bad at all,” Woods said. “I hit it really good. As I said, I didn’t putt really well. I hit it as good as I did yesterday. If I don’t make putts, I don’t score.”

Despite the setback in the second round, Tiger still has a shot at winning his first tournament since the Australian Masters in 2009. And even if he doesn’t, he’ll still maintain his No. 1 world ranking after No. 2 Phil Mickelson failed to make the weekend cut with a total score of 146. This is the ninth time of Mickelson’s career that he has failed at a chance to replace Tiger as No. 1.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor