World number one Jordan Spieth is nine shots off the first-round lead at The Barclays after shooting his worst round since May.
The American, 22, shot five bogeys and one double bogey in his final nine holes to card a three-over-par 74.
Americans Bubba Watson, Spencer Levin and Tony Finau, and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, lead on six under.
England’s Paul Casey and Scotland’s Russell Knox are among six players one shot off the lead in New Jersey.
Englishman Lee Westwood is three under par, with compatriots Greg Owen a shot further back and Luke Donald two over.
Ian Poulter is tied for last place on seven over and Justin Rose one shot better off.
“It was a very off day,” said Spieth, the Masters and US Open champion.
“A little bit of rust with wedges combined with some poor decision-making and it just came out of nowhere. It was really a very unique round for this year.”
Two-time Masters champion Watson, who carded seven birdies and two bogeys at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison, said: “I missed the cut the last time we played at this golf course, so this is a big step forward for me.”