Of course, this is a new life for Tiger Woods now that his divorce has been finazlized, annoucned and commented-upon by his now former wife. So The Barclays is his first tournament in the new phase.

          To hear him talk about it, though, it's all about his new swing. He has been working with Sean Foley on a completely different approach. When he was asked specifically what he changed, he said, "backswing, downswing, follow-through." In other words, everything.

         It sure worked today. In his finest full 18 holes of the year, he quickly took the lead at The Barclays--the first of four PGA Tour playoff events in the FedEx Cup--by shooting a roaring 6-under par 65.

          "It was important. I've got to play my way into next week," he said, referring to his rather low spot ini the FedEx Cup standings, which is a real rarity for him. He is not guaranteed a spot in future events this time, unlike previous years. He was so low, in fact, that he had the first tee time today (they seed by standings with the higher places getting Woods' normal prime time slots). So he got up at 3:50 a.m. to get ready.

          Ready he was. He waas 5 under through seven holes and made only one bogey all day-on No. 12. He finished with a rousing birdie on No. 18 with a meticulously shaped drive (he rarely used his driver) and an approach that landed about a foot from the hole and settled seven feet away. He made the putt and gave a mini-fist pump.

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         That was the resulf of having hit "hundreds of balls" he said at home in Iselworth. "I've got to get my head wrapped around committing to it, or not," he said.

         Of course, he also has to get his head wrapped around his new life, too,