FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Tiger Woods gingerly played most of the second round of the Barclays FedExCup playoff round on Friday because of an apparent back ailment that he believes was caused by sleeping awkwardly on a soft bed at his hotel Thursday night.
“As I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course,” Woods said.
In between the occasional grimace, cautious squat and steps taken gingerly, Woods managed to shoot a solid 69 that left him at 5 under and three strokes off the lead held jointly by Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia at the first FedExCup playoff event.
“I’m right there,” Woods said. “This is a very bunched leaderboard. There are so many guys there. I think, what, 70-plus guys within nine shots as of right now.”
Woods, who is tied for seventh with Rickie Fowler, Gary Christian and John Huh, acknowledged that his back hurt throughout the day. At no point, though, was he worried that he might not be able to finish the round.
“It didn’t feel very good, but I got it around, and just because the swing didn’t feel very good doesn’t mean I can’t make every putt,” said Woods, who one-putted seven times on Friday. “I went out there with that kind of mindset and just buried a bunch of putts.”
Woods said the pain was actually very specific, so he was able to compensate when necessary.
“It was like a section of movement, so it didn’t hurt standing up, it didn’t hurt at the bottom of a squat, but it was the somewhere in-between there it was going to catch,” he explained. “It would grab just before impact, so you’d kind of expect it, so I could get through that.
“I’ve been through that kind of stuff before, so I know what it feels like.”
As soon as he was done with his post-round interviews, Woods climbed in a golf cart with his security team and headed straight for the fitness trailer. He had no doubt that he would be able to make his tee time on Saturday afternoon.
–Followed up an opening-round 6-under 65 with a 2-under 69 to move into a share of the lead with Sergio Garcia after the second round of The Barclays. His round included a rollercoaster finish on the last seven holes, going bogey-birdie-birdie-birdie-bogey-par-bogey.
Watney’s round included an eagle on the par-4 fifth hole, the 11th of his career in PGA TOUR Playoffs events (only Hunter Mahan, with 12, has more).
This marks the fifth time in Watney’s PGA Tour career he has held the second-round lead/co-lead: 2012 Wells Fargo Championship (finished eighth), 2009 Transitions Championship (T12), 2009 Waste Management Phoenix Open (T12) and the 2006 Wyndham Championship (T6).
Watney was ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup standings after the PGA Tour Regular season last year and finished 9th, his best showing since the FedExCup began in 2007. He posted a T10 finish in The Barclays 2011, his second top 10 at the event. His best Barclays performance was a T6 in 2009.
Watney missed the cut at the 2009 U.S. Open held at Bethpage Black (73-73).
–A two-time winner of The Barclays (2001, 2004), Garcia posted his 22nd round in the 60s (out of 42 rounds and 11 starts) in round two and shares the lead with Nick Watney after two rounds.
Garcia has just two bogeys through the first two rounds, both coming at the par-3 third hole.
Like Watney, this marks the fifth time Garcia has held/shared the second-round lead on Tour: 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship (T20), 2007 British Open (2), 2005 Wells Fargo Championship (T2) and The Barclays 2001 (won).
A below-average season by Garcia’s standards has turned around with his victory last week at the Wyndham Championship. The win was just his second top-10 finish of 2012, after a T4 to start his PGA Tour season at the Northern Trust Open. The last player to win back-to-back PGA Tour events was Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).
Garcia, currently No. 33 in the FedExCup standings, fell as far as No. 103 in the standings this season and entered the Wyndham Championship at No. 102.
Garcia is one of the most successful players at The Barclays, with two career victories that have helped put him at No. 2 in career money earned at the event. Entering this week, Garcia ranked seventh in career stroke average at 69.33 in 40 rounds at The Barclays.
The 32-year-old, eight-time PGA Tour winner is looking to reach the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time since 2008, when he suffered playoff defeats at two of the four PGA Tour Playoff events (The Barclays to Vijay Singh and the Tour Championship to Camilo Villegas).
Garcia finished fourth and T10 at the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002 and 2009, respectively.
Second-Round Leader Stats
–In the 45-year history of The Barclays, the second-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win 12 times (most recently Vijay Singh in 2006).
–The second-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win just seven of 36 stroke-play events in 2012, most recently Scott Piercy at the RBC Canadian Open.
Additional Player Notes
–Tiger Woods sits T7 as he seeks to win The Barclays for the first time in his seventh start at the event. His best finish at The Barclays is T2 in 2009.
–Making his 20th career start at The Barclays, Vijay Singh (68-67) opens with two rounds in the 60s for just the second time (2011/65-64). With four wins, Singh (currently T3) leads a group of five players with multiple wins at The Barclays: Singh (4); and Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia (2).
–With rounds of 69-66, Bob Estes (T3) opens with two rounds in the 60s for the first time in 13 career starts at The Barclays. The four-time PGA Tour winner is making his 609th official Tour start this week.
–First-round leader Padraig Harrington, winner of The Barclays in 2005, carded a 4-over 75 during the second round, falling to T16. On Thursday, Harrington carded a 6-under 29 on Bethpage’s final nine holes (matching his career-low nine hole score on Tour). On Friday, he posted a 5-over 40 on that same side en route to a 75.
–Luke Donald (T52) three-putted the second hole on Friday, snapping a streak of 310 holes in the Playoffs without a three-putt. The streak dated to the third round of the 2010 Tour Championship by Coca-Cola (21 holes/2010, 270 holes/2011, 19 holes/2012).
–Among players in the top 10 on the leaderboard, John Huh (T7) and Gary Christian (T7) are making their first appearance at The Barclays. Two players have won in their first appearance at this event – Jack Renner (1979) and Vijay Singh (1993). Eight players have made The Barclays their first PGA Tour win: Andy North (1977); Jack Renner (1979); Wayne Grady (1989); Vijay Singh (1993); JP Hayes (1998); Dennis Paulson (2000); Chris Smith (2002); and Jonathan Kaye (2003).
–Defending FedExCup champion Bill Haas missed the cut after rounds of 71-75. He entered the week ranked No. 21 in the FedExCup standings and is currently projected at No. 32.
–There were two aces on Friday: Chris Kirk on No. 17 with a 5-iron from 190 yards and Roberto Castro on No. 14 with an 8-iron from 154 yards.
–Jason Bohn withdrew prior to the start of the second round with a back injury. Matt Every withdrew during the second round with a neck injury.