Talk about low rounds. Tiger Woods, playing in the morning, shot a 64 with three birdies in his first nine and five in a row on his second nine, and he still wasn’t leading the Deutsche Bank tournament in Boston. Newcomer Seung-Yul Noh posted a 62 late in the day. Chris Kirk, another one of the growing Sea Island, GA, contingent, had a 63.
Woods’ only blemish was a bogey at the ninth, which was his last hole. "I hit the ball well enough to probably shoot maybe one or two more. I missed a couple little putts out there. But also I made my share from outside of 15, 20 feet, as well."
When asked to compare this round with his final day at the Barclays, Woods said, "I wasn't playing that bad. That's the thing that people don't really realize, is that Saturday I had four three‑putts, I would have been right there. And then Sunday I was battling back and forth early and finally just kind of lost it at the end, but I was just hanging in there that round."
In Friday’s round the wind gave him more problems than anything else. And with a 64, obviously he did not encounter many problems.
“If I hit it flush, it goes right through the wind,” he said. “My ball doesn't curve as much. So when I'm hitting it well, it'll go right through it. “
He got lucky with the wind being down on some shots, and saw others who weren’t so lucky.
At the fourth, a 298-yard, drivable par four, he said he was waiting for the wind to pick up so he could hit the driver more comfortably.
“I was trying to put the ball in the left bunker, and unfortunately I didn't get there,” he said. “The lie was decent, but I had to play an all‑out shot to try to keep it on the green, and I went for it, and it came off." His shot went 276 and landed in the rough left of the green. However, he still made birdie from there.
The wind was not predictable, either, and that provided some other challenges.
“We had a hard time figuring out the directions, that's one thing, but then you've got to figure out the intensity and hope it stays there and hope you guess it right and hit it right,” he said.
While most think of Woods as being an extraordinarily long hitter, he said he has never been the longest. His drive at the fourth, 276, was not at all long. J.B. Holmes poked one out 305 yards at four.
“Even when I was long on Tour, (John) Daly was still longer,” Woods added. “I believe he's the first guy to average over 300 yards. But now that's kind of average now. Most of the guys can hit the ball 300 yards.”
Woods cited the changes in equipment for the distance differences.
“We've changed equipment. It was balata balls, 43‑inch steel‑shafted drivers. Now the standard driver is 45, graphite," he explained. “You add that and the guys are bigger and stronger and faster, it's a significant jump.”
Woods said that the length of carry, to corners of doglegs and to go over hazards, has changed.
“They used to be staggered at probably about 260, maybe 280 at the tops. Now they're 300 to 320. Those are our carry numbers on most of the holes that have been lengthened or bunkers repositioned,” he added, noting that he had not been bothered by it. “I hit the ball far enough to where I can get to the par‑5s, and if you take care of the par‑5s and you take care of a few more along the way, you're going to have a pretty good tournament.”
Right now, Woods finds himself in excellent position with three rounds to go. Only 70 players will move on to the BMW after the Deutsche Bank concludes on Monday.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.