NORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods is back in Boston and his back is feeling great.
Woods, who departed The Barclays tournament on Sunday with questions swirling about whether his sore back would allow him to compete in this week’s second of four FedExCup playoff tournaments, pronounced himself healthy on Thursday and looking forward to Friday’s opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.
"The back’s a lot better, obviously, than Sunday," Woods said after playing 18 holes in the tourney’s pro-am event with, among others, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "It’s nice to have that extra day of rest; having the tournament start on Friday certainly helps ... It made a big difference. It was nice to go out there today and be able to play all 18 holes today and have no issues whatsoever."
Woods, who fell to his knees with a back spasm during the final round at Liberty National, said he began feeling better on Wednesday and was pleased to make it all the way around the 7,214-yard, par-71 TPC Boston track.
"I hadn’t swung a club since Sunday of Barclays and it was nice to go out there today and feel comfortable and be able to hit shots," said the top player the world rankings and FedExCup points who played half a round in last week’s pro-am before his balky back forced him to quit. "I was only going to play nine holes today and chip and putt like I did at The Barclays but it felt good."
Woods, who has received ice, electric stimulation, ultrasound, and soft-tissue massage treatments two or three times a day since waking up on a soft hotel mattress prior to The Barclays, said he went all out with his swing on a chilly, damp late summer day.
"[The course] played a lot longer today, obviously with a little cooler temperatures and a little bit of drizzle, the golf played really long," said Woods, who noted he hit driver on "almost every hole.
"It was soft, drizzly, cold -- cold for a Florida kid," he said. "So it required a bunch of drivers and I had no problem hitting them. It felt good to be able to have that feeling again, considering the last time I swung a club, it wasn’t that way."
Woods played fan for a moment, observing that he looked forward to playing the first two rounds with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.
"It’s fun to have that type of pairing," he said of his Friday and Saturday playing partners, ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the world and in FedExCup standings. "It’s a fun, exciting pairing for us. We enjoy it."
As for the state of his back, just the latest in a series of injuries he has dealt with over the years, beginning with knee surgery in 1994 when he was still a student at Stanford, the 14-time major champion shrugged.
"It’s part of playing sports. We push it and we have little knickknack injuries that happen. That’s part of playing sports," he said. "It’s the nature of what do as [athletes]. I try to do a lot of preventative things, but the nature of it is that we are subjecting our bodies to things that probably it wasn’t meant to do."
What the near- to long-term future holds for his health, Woods said all he could do was go with the flow.
"I don’t know. It’s a day-to-day deal on how I feel, whether I’m going to practice or not after, whether or not I’m going to get a little bit tight now, to eat. If I get a little bit tight, then I probably won’t hit balls," said Woods, who planned at least to practice his putting. "As far as hitting balls, it’s going to be day-to-day."
Woods also looked forward to the bye week between the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships.
"I think it certainly does help me. The extra day helped," he said. "Having next week off helps ... Having a little break here and there, it does help."
Oh, and not to worry about the bed he’s resting his frame on this week.
"[It’s] a flat one," he quipped. "It’s a good one."