New Jersey: Tiger Woods nearly shot himself out of the FedExCup playoffs on Saturday with a triple-bogey seven on the par-four first hole but the struggling world number one recovered with a back-nine charge.
Woods, mired in a dismal season without a win, launched his opening drive dead left into a car park to drop from four under par overall to one-under at Ridgewood Country Club.
"I got caught between the two swings," said Woods, who has been retooling his inconsistent swing. "And I wasn't committed to what I was doing. "After that I just said, hey, put it away. Be committed to what I'm doing each and every shot for the rest of the day. "And I hit the ball really good all day."
Three birdies on the back nine, including a birdie-birdie finish, helped right the ship as Woods posted a one-over-par 72 for a three-under-par total of 210, nine shots behind third-round leader Martin Laird of Britain.
"It ended up probably costing me a chance to win the golf tournament," Woods said about his misguided missile off the tee. "But I'm pleased how I sucked it up and got it back the rest of the day when it easily could have gone the other way."
Woods's finish allowed him to restore some breathing room in his drive to stay alive in the playoffs. Standing 112th in FedExCup standings entering the event, Woods was in a precarious position since only the top 100 on the points list qualify for the next tournament, the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
Woods needed to finish 50th to guarantee he would carry on in the four-event playoffs that pays the overall winner a $10 million bonus. He stood tied for 28th place, three strokes ahead of the pace needed, going into Sunday's final round.
"I'm very excited about what I'm doing, how I'm hitting the golf ball," he said about putting into practice his recent work with Canadian swing coach Sean Foley. "The shots that I'm hitting, the crispness coming off, and how many shots I hit the last three rounds pin high, exactly pin high. That's something I haven't done all year."