A day after his wife's tearful account of their breakup dominated the news, Tiger Woods shook off the doubts and rust that had plagued him in recent months and shot his best round of golf of the year.
Playing at The Barclays in northern New Jersey, Woods missed only one fairway and two greens en route to a 6-under 65. The vintage performance left him atop the leaderboard at Ridgewood Country Club. Barely hanging onto his No.1 world ranking, Woods has not won in any of his nine tournaments this year, the longest he has ever gone without a victory.
"It feels good to be able to control my ball all day like this," Woods said afterward.
Woods was the No. 1 seed the past three years, but he began The Barclays and this year's PGA Tour playoffs No. 112, needing to have a decent tournament at The Barclays just to advance to the second round next week.
Woods and Elin Nordegren made their divorce official on Monday, after nine months of tawdry revleations about his womanizing behind her back. On Wednesday, excerpts from an exclusive interview Nordegren gave People magazine trickled out.
"I've been through hell," Nordegren said. "It's hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden — was it a lie? You're struggling because it wasn't real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn't kill me."
Woods knew the interview was coming, and has had only praise for his ex-wife and mother of his two children.
"I wish her the best in everything," Woods said. "You know, it's a sad time in our lives. And we're looking forward in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that's the most important thing."
On Thursday, Woods showed that he's still capable of greatness at the second most important thing in his life, golf.
"This is my job," he said. "This is what I do."