Tiger Woods is playing next week’s FedExCup playoff opener, the start of a busy stretch that could include four tournaments in five weeks.
At No. 47 in the FedExCup standings, Woods has work to do in order to make it to East Lake for the Tour Championship. That journey begins next week at The Northern Trust at TPC Boston, where Woods has won once (2006) and posted three other top-3 finishes but has appeared only once since 2013.
Woods has played only twice in the past six months, with mixed results. He tied for 40th at the Memorial and was never a factor at the PGA Championship while tying for 37th. In an encouraging sign, however, he reported none of the back stiffness that had plagued him in other tournaments this season, despite competing in cooler, damp conditions in San Francisco.
After his drought-busting victory at the Tour Championship in 2018, Woods failed to make a return trip to East Lake last fall. He withdrew from the first playoff event because of an oblique strain, then tied for 37th at the BMW Championship and didn’t qualify as one of the season’s top-30 points earners. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee and didn’t play again until October 2019, at the Zozo Championship in Japan, when he won his record-tying 82nd PGA Tour title.
In all, Woods has played just five events this season. He needs to remain among the top 70 in order to be eligible for the BMW Championship (Aug. 27-30) at Olympia Fields before the final cutoff for the Tour Championship (Sept. 4-7).
The last time Woods played three consecutive weeks was during the 2018 playoffs. That year there were four postseason events, with a week off before the Tour Championship.
There is a quick turnaround between the end of the FedExCup playoffs and the start of U.S. Open week, on Sept. 14. If Woods advances to the Tour Championship, he likely will play four times in five weeks. (It's possible he could secure his Tour Championship berth next week and sit out the BMW.) At the PGA, Woods said he has been "gearing up" his body for a busy stretch this fall.