Woods was seen on the practice range placing a cold water bottle on the back of his neck and rubbing his back with a towel. Many observers worried about him, who has endured four back surgeries. Although he admitted recently at the Memorial that there are days when his back just doesn’t feel right, Thursday was not one of them.
After having some heating oils applied to his upper back, he was ready to tee of in The Northern Trust. It took his game a while to heat up, though.
Woods made his first birdie on the par-5 18th hole as he made the turn.
After that he ran off four birdies in a six-hole stretch for a 3-under 68.
After this spectacular show, he was four shots out of the lead. 68 was his lowest start since he won at the Zozo Championship in Japan. He has only played five times since. After only playing twice since the PGA Tour resumed in June, he now ranks 49 in the FedEx Cup.
His goal is to be among the top 30 within two weeks in order to reach the Tour Championship. Woods is going back to his roots with his old putter – a slightly shorter one than he used at Harding Park in the PGA Championship a few weeks ago.
This may be the reason he didn’t have any birdies until he reached the 18th hole (par 5) in two stunning shots. He had more chances and conversions on the front nine, which played roughly a half-stroke easier, making birdie on both par-3’s.
“Whenever I gave myself a look, I made them,” he said. Fortunately, he made enough birdies over his last 10 holes to recover. ''Coming to a golf course I know helps,'' said Woods, who has one victory and two runner-up finishes at the TPC Boston.
The 2020 Northern Trust purse is set for $9.5 million, with the winner's share coming in at $1,710,000 -- the standard 18% payout according to the PGA Tour's prize money distribution chart. Woods is currently ranked at number 16 in the world rankings with Rahm, Thomas, McIlroy and Johnson filling the top four spots.
Although Tiger Woods is certainly nowhere near top form, he still has a lot of golf let in him – more than most and will definitely be spoiling fans with great performances for the rest of the year.