ATLANTA - Tiger Woods blamed late season fatigue for his dramatic collapse over the closing stretch at the Tour Championship on Friday after he had surged into contention with five birdies in his first 13 holes.
The American world number one, FedExCup points leader coming into this week and the title favourite at the PGA Tour's season-ending event, ended up with a one-over-par 71 on a sun-splashed day at East Lake.
Woods, seeking his sixth victory this year but nine strokes off the pace overnight, ran up a double-bogey at the 14th, a bogey at the 16th and an ugly triple at the 17th as he finished well down the leaderboard at four-over 144.
"I put everything I had into that start and didn't have much at the end," Woods, who had declined to speak to reporters the previous day after opening with a 73, said of his round.
"Just ran out of gas. I'm tired."
Asked whether he had suffered from physical fatigue, the 14-times major champion, who prides himself on his fitness and workout regimen, replied: "Yeah, definitely."
Woods, who had experienced some back trouble during The Barclays, the first of the four FedExCup playoff events, was then asked if his back was okay.
"It's been just a long, long grind," the 37-year-old American replied. "Everyone out here has got some knick-knack injuries, and guys are taped up and banged up a little bit. We have played a lot of golf from the British Open on."
However, Woods was predictably optimistic when asked to assess his overall position going into the final two rounds at East Lake where an elite field of 30 players is competing.
"I'm still in contention," he said. "There's 36 holes. That's why we play. That's why we play four rounds.
"This is not a sprint. It's tournament golf. It's four rounds. It's a marathon. You've got to keep plugging around."