• Farmers Insurance Open

Tiger frustration continues at Torrey Pines

January 25, 2014
Tiger Woods found more trouble on the par-5s © Getty Images

Tiger Woods lamented his poor play on the par-5 holes after Thursday's opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open. It didn't get any better on Friday.

In a rather shocking development on the North Course at Torrey Pines, Woods failed to birdie any of the par-5s- he bogeyed the last - seriously damaging his chances of defending his title here and running his victory total at this venue to nine.

Woods wasn't awful, shooting a one-under-par 71 with two birdies and a bogey. But the North course is playing approximately four strokes easier than the more difficult South, where the final 36 holes will be played. And Woods finds himself nine strokes back of tournament leader Jordan Spieth.

Spieth shoots 63 to lead by one

  • Jordan Spieth turned out to be the star attraction Friday playing with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.
  • Spieth again showed game well beyond his 20 years with a nine-under 63 on the North Course, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open.
  • Read the full report on ESPN.com

Spieth, playing alongside Woods, waxed him by eight strokes with a 63 on Friday.

"I was a yard off, a foot off all day,'' Woods said. "It was one of those frustrating rounds where the ball is in the fairway and running into the rough. Had to be aggressive going at some of these flags and consequently my score reflected that.

"It was just a fraction off, a yard off, a foot off, and it seemed like it was like that all day. Just one of those days where it was tough to get it going.''

And likely even more frustrating that Spieth, 20, made nine birdies and no bogeys and hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation. Woods, who never had played with the reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year in competition, praised his putting and said it was an impressive display. Spieth also played the par-5s in three-under par. Woods hit just five of 14 fairways and only 12 of 18 greens. And he needed 30 putts.

For Woods, dominating the par-5s always has been the key to his success. The No. 1-ranked player in the world typically contends when he takes care of the par-5s, and that has hardly been the case. He has yet to birdie a par-5 in eight attempts so far in 2014.

Last year on the PGA Tour, Woods was under par on the par-5s just more than 48% of the time to rank eighth overall. For a majority of his career, he's been in the top five and had led the category or had been second numerous times.

For example, through two rounds at Torrey Pines a year ago, Woods was 9 under on the par-5s with two eagles. He has played 10 shots worse in 2014.

After failing to birdie any of them on the South Course on Thursday, Woods seemed in position to make up some ground on those holes on Friday. But he put himself in a bad spot with his second shot on the 14th hole (his fifth), three-putted from about 40 feet at the ninth, failed to get up and down at the par-5 first - which measures just 519 yards - and then made a bogey at the par-five ninth.

This is Woods' first event of 2014 and his first competition since he lost in a play-off to Zach Johnson on December 8 at the World Challenge. Like last year, when he missed the cut in his opening tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Woods has started poorly.

"I wouldn't say it's rusty, just a fraction off,'' Woods said. "At this level and golf courses like this it doesn't take much.''

Although Woods is nine strokes back and will tee off on the back nine with a two-tee start on Saturday, he didn't count himself out for an eighth victory in this event. He recalled his 1999 victory, when he shot 62-65 on the weekend to make up a big deficit and win.

He eagled the final hole to do it - the par-5 18th.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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