Woods collapsed to his knees in pain with a spasm on the 13th hole during Sunday’s final round of The Barclays in New Jersey and though he recovered to nearly force a playoff, his ongoing back issues have forced a change of plans this week.
The world number one pulled out of his good friend Notah Begay III’s charity event on Wednesday and kept himself away from practice sessions at the TPC Boston until Thursday’s pro-am competition.
That cautious approach came after Woods received a series of treatments for his back, some of which will continue for the rest of this week.
“Ice, stim (stimulation), ultrasound, soft tissue (massage), make sure the firing sequence is good, it’s in the proper sequence, and plenty of rest, something I’m not real good at, but I was forced to do it,” Woods said when asked about his treatment in recent days.
“I’m going to have to do it, I don’t want to have to do it. So hopefully my back will stay where it’s at right now if not improve, so I can start doing the other little exercises, start strengthening it and getting back to where it needs to be.”
Woods’ careful build-up to this week’s playoff event meant he initially planned to play fully only the first nine holes during Thursday’s pro-am but, after feeling an improvement in his back, he went on to complete the full round.
“It is obviously a lot better since Sunday,” said Woods, who tied for second at The Barclays, a stroke behind winner Adam Scott of Australia.
“I hadn’t swung a club since Sunday at the Barclays, and it was nice to go out today and feel comfortable and be able to hit shots.
“I was only going to play nine holes and chip and putt on the back nine, like I did at the Barclays, but it felt good so I continued playing today.”
Woods, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour this season, is known for putting in plenty of time on the range after his rounds but he said that strategy may have to be limited this week.
“It’s a day-to-day deal on how I feel, whether I’m going to practise or not after, whether or not I’m going to get a little bit tight now,” he told reporters.
“(I’m going to) go eat. If I get a little bit tight, then I probably won’t hit balls. But I’d like to putt a little bit, get a feel for the speed of the greens. As far as hitting balls, it’s going to be day-to-day.
“This was, as I said, the first day I hit balls or swung a club since Sunday. And it was a pleasant surprise to go out there and play without any discomfort.”
Woods will feature in a star-studded group for Friday’s opening round at the TPC Boston, having been paired with Masters champion and world number two Adam Scott, and third-ranked American Phil Mickelson, the winner of this year’s British Open.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)