PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The tournament within this week’s tournament took a few unexpected twists and turns Thursday.
With four players capable of overtaking Tiger Woods for No. 1 in the world ranking following The Players Championship, they played the opening round with varying degrees of success – and failure.
Adam Scott, currently ranked second in the world, needs a two-way tie for 16th or better to potentially become the 17th different player to hold the top spot, but tee shots that found water on both the 17th and 18th holes led to a pair of closing double bogeys and a first-round score of 5-over 77. In all, he posted three double bogeys on the day – the first time he’s done that since Round 2 of the 2009 Memorial Tournament, a span of 315 rounds.
“I haven’t really thought about it at all,” Scott said of the No. 1 ranking. “It’s not been my focus. Like I said, I really believe it’s part of the process. I didn’t tee off today thinking about No. 1, because there’s 72 holes before that could happen.”
Henrik Stenson needs a two-way tie for sixth place this week. While he’s eight shots behind leader Martin Kaymer, last year’s FedEx Cup champion is still under par, thanks to an opening 71.
Masters winner Bubba Watson has to win or finish solo second. Despite no finish better than 37th in six starts at this event, the lefthander opened with a 3-under 69.
A costly tee shot on the final hole into a water hazard led to a double-bogey for Matt Kuchar, dropping him to a 1-under 71. The 2013 champion needs a win this week to potentially become No. 1.