Tiger Woods opens Northern Trust on fan-free golf course

Tiger Woods teed off to little acclaim at the Northern Trust on Thursday after spectators were temporarily prevented from coming on to the course.

Thunderstorms that rolled through Liberty National Golf Club late Wednesday afternoon brought not only rain but also strong wind that damaged some structures and hospitality tents at the New Jersey venue and forced the tournament to delay opening the gates until 10 am ET Thursday, well past Woods’ opening round tee time of 7:43am.

“We’re an outdoor sport, so Mother Nature is bound to show up and change our well-laid plans on occasion,” tournament executive director Julie Tyson said.

“We’re grateful that no one was injured and that damage was cosmetic and replaced. We look forward to welcoming the world’s best players – and all of the fans who have been waiting for this event all year long – to the kick-off of the FedExCup Playoffs.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the favourable forecast [for] the rest of the week and can’t wait to see everyone here.”

Woods, grouped with Scott Piercy and JT Poston, isn’t the only marquee player who’ll be well into his round by the time the galleries arrives. Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy, for example, begin their rounds at 8:16am. Gates were originally scheduled to open at 7am.

Woods made a slow start and was three over par through five holes.