Edison, N.J. — Jordan Spieth lost out on a chance to play the weekend at The Barclays.
He also lost his No. 1 ranking.
Bubba Watson, momentarily distracted by a rare warning for taking too long to play a shot, recovered with a birdie on the 18th hole at Plainfield Country Club for a 2-under 68 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.
On an otherwise sleepy afternoon at a course where no one could get some separation, two peculiar moments stood out — a bad time for Watson, bad golf from Spieth.
Trying to rally to make the cut, Spieth hit into a hazard on the 12th hole, and a bogey later became a double bogey when he was penalized one shot for stepping on his ball during the search. He had a 73, the first time since the Tour Championship last year that he had consecutive rounds over par.
He missed the cut by five shots. That means Rory McIlroy, who isn’t playing this week, returns to No. 1.
“I’ve reached that peak already and I know it’s going to be close enough to where if I just get the job done next week, I’ll be back in that ranking,” Spieth said. “But again, that ranking, it’s great once you reach it but it’s not something that I’m going to live or die on each week.”
McIlroy becomes the 14th player since the world ranking began in 1986 to get to No. 1 without playing that week.
Watson is in good shape through 36 holes to claim his own No. 1 ranking — a victory would move him to the top of the FedEx Cup. Much like the world ranking right now, that figures to change by the week.
Ultimately, what matters to Watson, Spieth and others is winning the Tour Championship to win the $10 million bonus.
Halfway through this event, no telling what else will happen over the next two days.
PGA Tour rookie Justin Thomas had a few late bogeys for a 69 and shrugged when asked if he was happy with his score. He was seven shots back.
“This is a course where if you make the cut, you have a chance to win,” Thomas said.
Watson was at 7-under 133.
British Open champion Zach Johnson made five birdies to go with four par-saving putts from outside 8 feet for a 65. He was one shot out of the lead, along with Henrik Stenson (66), Tony Finau (69) and Jason Dufner (68).
Watson typically struggles on courses with blind shots, and Plainfield has plenty of them. But he’s picking out targets, smashing his driver close to the green on the shorter holes and getting by just fine.
The bad time came on No. 16 with a difficult pin position, made even tougher by the fact Watson watched Spieth’s shot roll back some 100 feet off the green. Watson took longer than 40 seconds — 1 minutes, 2 seconds to be exact — and was given the bad time. One more bad time would have led to a one-shot penalty. Watson said he rushed his next shot from the fairway and came up 30 yards short of the green, leading to bogey.
Asked about his round, the first thing he brought up was the bad time, which he thought was “hilarious.” He spoke to the rules official after the round.
Yani Tseng closed with an eagle and a birdie for an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama.
Tseng hit a 6-iron to 4 feet to set up the eagle on the par-5 eighth hole just before play was delayed for about 90 minutes because of lightning and rain, then took the outright lead on the par-4 ninth with her sixth birdie of the day.
Ranked No. 1 in the world for 109 weeks, the 26-year-old Taiwanese player has slipped to 75th and is winless in 85 events since the 2012 Kia Classic. The 15-time tour winner tied for second in March in the LPGA Thailand for her only top-10 finish of the year.
Paul Goydos and Gene Sauers shared the first-round lead at 6-under 66 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. John Huston, who won this tournament four years ago, was a stroke back along with Ian Woosnam. Tour leader Colin Montgomerie is not playing this week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick and Pelle Edberg both shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to share the lead after the second round of the Czech Masters.