Tiger Woods Experiencing ‘Back Stiffness’ at Liberty National Tournament

The memories for Tiger Woods at Liberty National are tainted with some tough moments, and he’s not off to the greatest start this week for the beginning of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Woods spent most of the back nine of his pro-am round Wednesday just chipping and putting as he experienced stiffness and soreness during his early-morning warm-up session and did not want to take any chances prior to the start of the Northern Trust on Thursday.

“It’s best to be smart about it,” Woods said afterward. “This is kind how it is; some days I’m stiffer than others.”

And that continued a common refrain from Woods in his four tournament starts since winning the Masters in April.

He missed the cut at the PGA Championship, tied for ninth at the Memorial Tournament, tied for 21st at the U.S. Open and then missed the cut three weeks ago at The Open, where he never seemed to get on track in the cold weather.

Temperatures during the FedEx Cup playoffs will be considerably warmer, and that figures to help the 43-year-old Woods, who is nearly two full seasons into his comeback from spinal fusion surgery that rejuvenated his career and saw him capture his 80th PGA Tour title last September at the Tour Championship and his 15th major title at Augusta National.

But Woods has never looked completely right on a golf course since. All was fine during a nine-hole Tuesday practice round with Brooks KoepkaDustin Johnson and Harold Varner. Woods then attended a dinner with players in the running to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team that he will captain in December.

“It was great,” Woods said. “As I’ve said to you guys all year, this is how it is. Some days I’m stiffer than others. Yesterday I was out there hitting it great. Driving it out there with Brooksy and D.J. Today, I’m stiff. Hopefully I’m not that way [Thursday].”

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