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After his pro-am Wednesday at Medinah, Woods told media that his body is feeling "way better" than it did last week. 

By Daniel Rapaport
August 14, 2019

Tiger Woods opted to play it safe last week, withdrawing from the Northern Trust to be cautious with an aging and surgically repaired body.

The early returns on that decision are positive.

Woods played nine holes of his BMW Championship pro-am Wednesday—opting only to chip and putt on the back nine for the second straight week—and, importantly, showed no signs of discomfort from the oblique strain that forced him to pull out of the first FedEx Cup playoff event. He remains on schedule to play in the second of three playoff events, which features only the top 70 in the FedEx Cup points standings.

"Way better," Woods said when asked about his health. "It was nice to take those days and just let it calm down and get a bunch of treatment on it. It feels so much better."

According to media who followed along, Woods was around 4 under on his own ball on Wednesday before taking his last full swing on the 10th hole.

On a more foreboding note, Woods did offer this: "The forces have gotta go somewhere. Unfortunately, when I make any tweaks and changes to my swing, it's like a new body part is aching. Unfortunately I can't play around the back like I used to, and unfortunately things flare up."

Woods enters the week 38th in the FedEx Cup standings, meaning he'll need a good showing to qualify for next week's Tour Championship by ranking in the top 30 after Sunday's final round. It was at East Lake last year that he won his 80th PGA Tour title, first since 2013 and first since returning from spinal fusion surgery.

The good news for Woods is he has a host of good memories at the host venue this week, Medinah. It was there that he outdueled Sergio Garcia in the 1999 PGA Championship, and he won by five when the PGA returned in 2006.

Should Woods complete all four rounds this week—there is no 36-hole cut—it would be just the third time he's done so since winning the Masters in April. He has made five starts but missed the cut at the PGA Championship and the British Open and withdrew at Liberty National last week.

That barren run of play has seen Woods fall from a near shoe-in to a longshot to make the Presidents Cup team, which he will captain at Royal Melbourne in December. He enters this week 13th in the points standings, whereas only the top eight in those standings after this week are guaranteed a spot on the team.

And while Woods said Wednesday that he's still focused on earning one of the auto-qualifying spots, that is mathematically impossible. He cannot move into the top even with a win this week. So he will only be on the team if he uses one of his four captain's picks, which will be made in November, on himself.

Woods finished T6 in the BMW last year, but that event was played at Aronimink in Pennsylvania.

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