World number one men's golfer Tiger Woods of the United States has broken out of a season-long slump at The Barclays tournament in New Jersey just days after his divorce became final. Woods has struggled through the worst season of his career while dealing with a pending divorce and the fallout from a highly publicized sex scandal that destroyed his marriage.
The glory of seasons past has kept American golf superstar Tiger Woods in the top world ranking through nine tournaments without a victory this year.
Woods' divorce from his Swedish-born wife, Elin Nordegren became final Monday. Late Thursday, Tiger played his best round of the year, carding a six-under-par 65 to share the first round lead at The Barclays tournament in Paramus, New Jersey, near New York. Woods was tied for the lead with fellow-American Vaughn Taylor.
The round was a break-through for Woods, who appeared happy and rejuvenated as he talked about rediscovering his golf swing. "It's exciting to hit the ball, you know, flush like this again. That's something I'd been missing all year. I haven't hit it flush, and it felt good to hit the ball and shape it both ways, and really hit it through the wind," he said.
After his opening round, Tiger was asked if he was having fun again. "It's fun hitting the ball and getting a reward for it. That's the fun of it. As far as golf-wise, it was nice to put it together," he said.
The Barclays is the first playoff event in the PGA's season-ending FedEx Cup series. Woods' opening 65 was his best round since a nine-under-par 62 he carded last September at the BMW Championship - another FedEx Cup playoff event. He won the FedEx Cup last year for the second time in three years.
This year could not be more different for the now-single Tiger Woods, who started The Barclays ranked a distant 112th in the FedEx Cup standings. He needs a good finish at The Barclays to advance to the next tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He seemed to be well on his way.