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Tiger Woods needs form to progress in FedEx playoffs
August 25, 2010

Tiger Woods begins a new chapter at the Barclays tournament on Thursday, competing for the first time since his divorce and scrambling to qualify for the remainder of the FedExCup playoff series.

The world number one, who announced his split from wife Elin on Monday, will be in the unaccustomed role of teeing off in the first group on the first tee at 0710 local time in Thursday’s opening round due to the fact he is 112th in the points list.

Playing alongside little-known fellow Americans Cameron Beckman and Troy Matteson at Ridgewood Country Club, Woods also faces the pressure of producing good golf in order to qualify for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.

The top 100 on the points list go through to the second event in the series, with 70 players qualifying for the third, the BMW Championship. The leading 30 then advance to the Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.

The 34-year-old Woods, without a win this season, needs to finish between 50th and 57th to qualify for the next round of a series that pays the final points winner a $10 million bonus.

World number two Phil Mickelson tees off at the more genteel time of 1316 along with Briton Justin Rose and American Jeff Overton.

Ernie Els of South Africa, who has led the FedExCup standings for 22 successive weeks, tees off at 0816 with Americans Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk.

The last time the Barclays was staged at the tree-lined, 7,319-yard Ridgewood layout in 2008 the event was won by Vijay Singh of Fiji in a playoff against Spaniard Sergio Garcia and American Kevin Sutherland.

The course boasts the 291-yard fifth hole—the shortest par-four on the U.S. PGA Tour—and the lengthy 626-yard par-five 13th.

Also adjacent to the seventh hole is a cemetery where 2008 contender Kevin Streelman’s grandparents are buried.

“It’s sentimental and my parents get in tomorrow so it’s kind of a special week,” Streelman told reporters on Tuesday.

His family hail from the Paramus area.

Unheralded Heath Slocum won last year’s Barclays by sinking a 20-foot par putt to beat Woods, Stricker, Els and Padraig Harrington of Ireland by one stroke at Liberty National with the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty as backdrop.

“I think I proved last year that anywhere in this field somebody could have that week and come out on top,” Slocum said.

With Mickelson fairly quiet since his U.S. Masters victory in April, the door is firmly ajar for the FedExCup series and for Player of the Year honours.

“There’s been a lot of good golf played by a lot of different people,” said Slocum. “So I think it’s going to be very compelling for the playoffs. Anybody can win.”








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