Tiger Woods on Back Injury Impacting Play at FedEx Playoffs: 'Best to Be Smart'

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 7, 2019

Tiger Woods of the United States throws his club in the air con the 5th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Peter Morrison/Associated Press

Tiger Woods has been in the job long enough to know when to push his body and when not to, and Wednesday's pro-am round at the beginning of the FedEx Cup playoffs demanded the latter. 

"It's best to be smart about it," Woods said, according to ESPN's Bob Harig, referring to his decision to only chip and putt due to stiffness and soreness during his warm-up session earlier in the morning. "This is kind of how it is. Some days I'm stiffer than others." 

Injury has become a main component to the 43-year-old's game. Since 2008, Woods has undergone two knee surgeries and four back surgeries. He has also been inhibited by several Achilles and neck injuries.

All of that made Woods' 2019 Masters Tournament championship in April—his first major title since the U.S. Open in 2008—all the more impressive.

Woods compared his approach Wednesday to "what I did pre-Augusta, where I chipped and putted for nine holes," according to Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard, and it clearly paid off for him then.

However, the 15-time major champion's form has dwindled in the months since the Masters. Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship, finished tied for ninth at the Memorial Tournament, tied for 21st at the U.S. Open and missed the cut in last month's Open Championship. 

Heading into The Northern Trust, beginning tomorrow, Woods finds himself back at Liberty National Golf Course, where he crumbled to his knees in pain at the 13th hole in 2013. He admitted, per Hoggard, that he's concerned about his workload in the coming weeks: 

"Some of Woods' caution is likely rooted in his possible schedule the next three weeks. He's currently just inside the top 30 at No. 28 on the FedExCup point list, and if he qualifies for the Tour Championship, which he won last year, that would mean he'd have to play three consecutive weeks for the first time this season.

"'There is concern,' he said. 'I'm trying to get myself where I'm in contention, where it takes a toll on you, and that's what I want to feel. I want to feel that type of tiredness where I have a chance to win, had a chance to win, had a chance to win. That's a good feeling.'"

Woods will begin his Northern Trust campaign at 7:43 a.m. ET on the 10th tee with Scott Piercy and J.T. Poston.