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Tiger Woods might need some introductions

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The ramifications of so little golf for Tiger Woods over the past two years are innumerable. No continuity. No rhythm. No momentum. No success.

And then there are the factors not given much thought, such as Woods not having much of a chance to come in contact with his peers, especially those who are new to the scene.

Woods shot 65 on Friday and moved into a share of the lead when he eagled the 15th hole. Surely he glanced at the leaderboard at some point, looked at a computer afterward, and saw another man shared his score: Tom Hoge.

A rookie on the PGA Tour, Hoge has two career top-10s and has never led after any round. His name is also pronounced "Hoagie" and so when Woods was asked if he had ever heard of him, or if he would recognize him, there was a funny exchange.

"No, I wouldn't. What is it, or him? I don't know," Woods said.

Laughter understandably ensued, and Woods was not trying to be funny. He honestly did not have any idea who his co-leader in the tournament is, the guy he'll meet for the first time Saturday in a paring of the 315th-ranked and 286th-ranked players in the world.

"No, I don't know," Woods said. "I've never met him, never seen him. Don't know anything about him."

In Woods' defense, why would he?

He's playing in just his 11th event of 2015 and just four previous times was he entered in the same tournament as Hoge, 26, who as a PGA Tour rookie would never be grouped with Woods during the opening rounds of a tournament. Hoge has played just 79 tour rounds. Woods has 79 victories.

"There are so many guys out here I don't know," Woods said. "I've been hurt, I haven't played that much and then you're playing smaller events, a lot of guys from the Web.com [Tour] are in the events. You go up and down the range, they're all early 20s and you just ... it's just funny because I look on a Champions Tour leaderboard and I know every one of those guys because I played against them and I played with them.

"Now I come out here, I don't really know a lot of people."

Much has changed in Tiger's world. A slew of young players have come along, guys he's never even heard of, let alone met. And he's scrapping at the bottom of the PGA Tour to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, just like them.

Hoge is actually in better position, in 131st place. As long as he doesn't fall apart this weekend, he will make the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Barclays field next week. Woods pretty much needs to win to advance, once a foregone conclusion with a 36-hole lead.

He has converted 37 of 47 halfway leads into victory, an astounding conversion rate but one that means virtually nothing these days.

Woods' 65 was just his 10th round out of 30 in the 60s this year, the fourth time he's gone back to back. But he has not shot three consecutive rounds in the 60s this year, and that will be imperative Saturday if he is to stay in contention.

Of the top 34 players on the leaderboard, there is a single round in the 70s -- an opening-round 70 by Brandt Snedeker, who rebounded with a 61 Friday to move into a tie for fifth.

"I just couldn't seem to get everything out of my rounds," Woods said. "That's kind of the state of my game going into this event. I just couldn't get anything out of my rounds and a couple of lucky bounces here, take of those opportunities ... it's just the flow.

"It's so close to going the other way, and this week I've done a pretty good job of handling it and position the golf ball around the course. I've had a couple of putts. I've made them."

He'll need to do it again in the third round, the day that has been his nemesis the few times Woods has gotten off to a good start this year.

Woods shot a third-round 68 at the Masters where he was still well behind Jordan Spieth through three rounds. At the Greenbrier Classic, he followed a 66-69 start with a 71. Not horrible, but it's a tournament like this one where scores in the 60s are the norm.

Three weeks ago, Woods opened the Quicken Loans National 68-66 to tie for fifth, but struggled mightily with a third-round 74 that knocked him out of contention.

It's the next step in the process for Woods, who has slowly gone from reworking his swing under Chris Como to practice rounds to tournament rounds. The latter remains a big question mark, as last week's missed cut at the PGA Championship is a stark reminder.

Can Woods do it for a third straight day? This is old territory for Woods, but new territory in the present scheme of things. Same for Tom Hoge, who Woods undoubtedly will greet on the first tee, knowing very well how to pronounce his name.