Woods, Fleetwood and Leishman together again

(Paramus, New Jersey:) For the second time this season European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood finds himself grouped with former long-time World No. 1, Tiger Woods.

The duo, along with Aussie Marc Leishman, have been grouped together for the opening two rounds of Thursday’s Northern Trust Open and the first of the four FedEx Cup Playoff Series events being staged on the Ridgewood Country Club course in Paramus, New Jersey.

Marc Leishman Marc Leishman (Credit: USGA)

Strangely, it is the second time this year the trio find themselves grouped together as they were out alongside each other for the first two days of the Masters where Leishman finished in front with scores of 70 and 67 while Fleetwood signed for a pair of 72s and Woods struggled under the weight of a 73 and 75.

However, this week’s draw for the $US9m event has been based on the current FedEx Cup standing with Woods sitting in 20th place, Leishman 22nd and Fleetwood 23rd while the present No. 21 ranked Rory McIlroy has elected not to tee it up.

Following his recent near-miss at the PGA Championship, Woods is confident about securing his 80th PGA Tour title.

“I feel my next wins are coming soon,” he said.

“How soon, I don’t know, but I’m putting myself there in tournaments now. I’ve done it two of the last three tournaments I’ve played in and they were big events, so I’m not that far away from getting it done.”

And as we saw at Bellerive, Woods does now have the game to move closeer to Sam Snead’s all-time 82 wins on the PGA Tour.

“In order to get to Jack’s record, I have to pass Snead’s record,” he said smiling.

“It’s just simple maths. Yeah, in order to get to Jack’s ultimate 18, I’ve got to pass Sam’s, and I want to make that happen. I’m close. I have been close to winning tournaments this year.”

“I think if I keep giving myself opportunities, I’ll get the job done.”

Fleetwood spoke earlier this year at Augusta National of his excitement in being grouped with Woods for the first time in the Englishman’s career.

“The first real Masters I watched was 1997, when he won his first. A few years on and I get to play with him and I don’t think you can get a better draw than Tiger at the Masters,” Fleetwood said.

“It’s just brilliant to be grouped with him.”

The current World No. 11 ranked Fleetwood is contesting the ultra-lucrative Playoff Series for the first time in his career whereas Woods has not teed-up in the Series since 2013.

Justin Rose, who sits fourth on the FedEx Cup table, is out on Thursday alongside the respective No. 5 and No. 6 ranked Bubba Watson and Jason Day.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, sits at the top of the FedEx Cup standings, will be joined by No. 2 Justin Thomas and triple-Major winning, Brooks Koepka.