Woods to keep pressure on Rory
Golf:Tiger Woods was looking to press home his advantage over Rory McIlroy in the race for the FedEx Cup $10 million jackpot in Atlanta today. An opening four-under-par 66 at the Tour Championship gave Woods a share of the overnight lead with England’s Justin Rose.World number one McIlroy, winner of three of his last four events, was back in a share of 12th place after losing his head-to-head with Woods by three shots.
“I hit a lot of good shots — I hit a couple of really good putts that lipped out, but other than that it was a really good day,” said the American, who came into the week knowing that like points leader McIlroy a tournament win would also give him the huge play-off bonus.
“Most of the summer I’ve played well. It was nice to get that week off last week and get a little bit of rest — I felt fresh. I enjoy playing with Rory. He’s a great kid. Over the years there are certain pairings for me that I’ve enjoyed and Rory is one of them.
“I think that is the whole idea of the play-offs. Trying to get the top players all playing more often, but also in the same group. You figure the top players are going to gravitate towards the top of the points list and hence you’re going to have these type of pairings throughout the play-offs.
“I’ve had Rory three of the four events. I think it’s worked out the way that our Tour wanted it to. You probably don’t believe this, but I get along really well with a lot of guys out here. Rory is no different. I give it, they dish it and we have a great time.
This is a fraternity out here — that’s one of the great things about being out here for 17 years.”
McIlroy said: “If you don’t hit fairways it’s hard. I wish I could have shot a couple of shots better, but I’m in a good position.” As for playing with Woods again he added: “It was good. I always say groupings like that have a great atmosphere, a great buzz.”
Rose, despite entering the week ranked 24th, still has a chance of the pay-out under the way the points are reset before the final event. “Just being here at this tournament is a good feeling,” he said.
“I think 21 of the top 22 players in the world are here, so that gets your juices flowing. From the FedExCup point of view it’s a position of having nothing to lose, really. Obviously I’d like to be much higher up the rankings, but maybe being a little bit looser is going to help me.
“I’ve only got this tournament on my mind. A lot of the other guys have two trophies on their minds.”
He and Woods lead by a shot from Americans Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Bo van Pelt and Scott Piercy. Sergio Garcia is alongside McIlroy, but Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are 22nd and 26th respectively after rounds of of 71 and 72.
Second Round tee-times(all times Irish)
4.45pmJohn Huh, Nick Watney
4.55pmErnie Els, Lee Westwood
5.05pmLuke Donald, John Senden
5.15pmWebb Simpson, Carl Pettersson
5.25pmLouis Oosthuizen, Rickie Fowler
5.335pmKeegan Bradley, Jason Dufner
5.45pmPhil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy
5.55pmSergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson
6.05pmJim Furyk, Bubba Watson
6.15pmBrandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore
6.25pmRobert Garrigus, Zach Johnson
6.35pmHunterMahan, Adam Scott
6.45pmMatt Kuchar, Steve Stricker
6.55pmScottPiercy, Bo Van Pelt
7.05pmJustinRose, Tiger Woods
First Round Scores(USA unless stated, par 70):
66Tiger Woods, Justin Rose (Eng)
67Steve Stricker, Bo Van Pelt, Matt Kuchar, Scott Piercy
68Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Robert Garrigus, Adam Scott (Aus), Brandt Snedeker
69Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Bubba Watson, Ryan Moore
70Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa)
71Luke Donald (Eng), Carl Pettersson (Swe), Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson
72Ernie Els (Rsa), John Senden (Aus), Lee Westwood (Eng)
74John Huh (Kor)