Tiger Woods is currently seven-under par through the first round of the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championships and is tied for sixth. Rory McIlroy, through 10 holes in round two, sits a top the leaderboard.
Tiger did have a nice opening round, shooting a 64, three strokes off the course record. He also led the field in greens.
But Tiger is not alone in the hunt for the title and several things stand in his way to get the victory.
Tiger struggled a bit with his putter, finishing 58th in the field. Of course, Tiger is going to have to improve on that if he wants to win. He's facing competition, such as McIlroy, who can putt well, and unless his short game improves, Woods will fall down the stretch. His putter hasn't been his best friend of late and yesterday's performance was no different.
Tiger's competition is rough. Leading the pack is Rory McIlroy. McIlroy has been having a terrific year, winning the PGA Championship and the Honda Classic. The 23-year-old is currently the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world. He's already off to a hot start in the second round.
Seung-yul Noh got off to a blistering start, shooting a terrific 62 in Round 1. He's still looking for first ever PGA tour win, but if he can continue his great play he will be a contender. Through 15 holes, he's two-under.
Ryan Moore finished with a 64 in the first round. He has had two top-10 finishes so far and is a very accurate driver. Through 15 holes today, he's two-under. He led the field in birdies after Round 1.
Tiger has to play as well, if not better, than his competitors and hope for one to struggle. Noh is the best best to falter, giving his lack of experience, but McIlroy is the best golfer in the world right now and Moore has been having a solid year. It's going to be an uphill climb for Woods.
Rough Last Few Holes
While Tiger started out really strong, he struggled a bit towards the end. He did not get a birdie on any of the last four holes and a took a bogey on the 18th. While we don't know if that will extend to the rest of the tournament, it's a concerning sign.
Tiger, as we'll note below, has had struggles finishing. His somewhat weak performance on the last few holes gives us pause.
For some reason, Tiger has been struggling on the weekends. His third-round scoring average this year is 70.63, good for 59th on Tour. His final-round average is 70.83, good for 73rd.
He has early-round success in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, the PGA Championships and the Barclays before faltering in the latter rounds.
It's hard to explain why. For years, Tiger was a ferocious closer. He was never out and frequently made dramatic comebacks, topped off with his famous arm-pump.
Now, not so much. Think about this: Through 36 holes of the U.S. Open, Woods was tied for first place. In the last two rounds, he hit scores of 75 and 73 and finished tied for 20th.
Something similar happened at the British Open, where a 73 on Sunday led the way for Ernie Els to win.
Tiger dismisses the notion that he's faltering on weekends [via ESPN]:
Well, it's just you can't really look at it as real bad going on this year," Woods said. "At the time, most of the year, I was leading the money list. I was No. 1 in FedEx Cup points and I won three times, so it's not like it's been that bad.
It's just a couple rounds here and there or it's an up and down here and there or it's making one putt, which is not good. So that's a good thing.
Tiger's going to have to beat the weekend blues to come out victorious. This year's performance suggests he won't.