New Jersey: One step forward, two steps back. For Tiger Woods the road to golfing redemption has become long and rocky. A day after he shot a superb 65 to grab a share of the lead in the opening round of the FedExCup playoffs, the world number one stumbled with a two-over 73 at the Barclays tournament on Friday.
Woods reached the halfway stage at the Ridgewood Country Club on a respectable four-under-par, tied for 14th, four shots behind leader Jason Day and still in contention to win his first title this year but with more questions than answers.
"I hit the ball just as good today as I did yesterday," he told reporters. "But I didn't putt well at all. "I didn't have the speed at all on the greens. I was leaving it way short or blowing it by the hole. I couldn't figure out the speed."
Woods has shown only glimpses of his best since coming out of self-imposed exile following revelations of extra-marital affairs earlier this year and has lacked the consistency that was once his trademark, something that was again evident on Friday.
Starting at the 10th hole he made a bright enough start with birdies at the 11th and 18th before his round suddenly unravelled. The American, who announced his divorce from wife Elin this week, bogeyed the par-three second when he missed the green with his tee shot and was distracted by a photographer while chipping.
Woods then dropped another shot at the par-four fifth, one of the easiest holes on the course, when he missed from inside two feet. He bogeyed the next hole after a loose approach to the green, then dropped another stroke at the ninth after a wayward drive. "That's just the way it is," he explained. "I didn't hit it bad at all, I hit it really good, as I said I didn't putt well. "It goes to show you no matter how good you hit it ... if I don't make putts, I don't hit scores."