Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tiger Woods shows back has improved

NORTON, Mass. — On and off the course, Tiger Woods didn't look anything like the golfer who only four days ago dropped to his knees with back pain.

He took full, powerful swings with the driver at the TPC Boston, and he had no trouble gouging shots from the deep rough. He stooped over without hesitation to remove his tee from the ground or get his ball from the cup.

"The back has been … it's a lot better than obviously on Sunday," Woods said Thursday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. "It was nice to have that extra day of rest. Having the tournament start on Friday certainly helps. And I've gotten treatment every day, two to three times a day."

It was the third time this year Woods has shown physical discomfort on a course. An elbow injury forced him to miss two tournaments in the early summer. He was grabbing his lower back in the final round of the PGA Championship. And at the Barclays last week, after complaining of a stiff lower back from a soft mattress in his hotel, Woods fell to his knees on the 13th hole after what he said was a back spasm.

His health figures to be a talking point at the Deutsche Bank Championship, at least until he gets to the tee this morning to join the ultimate power grouping: Woods, British Open champ Phil Mickelson and Masters champ Adam Scott, who not only are Nos. 1-2-3 in the FedEx Cup, but 1-2-3 in the world.

"It's exciting, I know for me," Woods said. "It also goes to show you that those are three hottest players in the world."

These three players last played together in an opening round in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, the first time the USGA used the world ranking to group top players. Woods won his 14th major that week while playing on a shattered left knee.

LPGA: Pornanong Thaohatlum shot 8-under 64 to take the first-round lead by a stroke over 18-year-old Lexi Thompson at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson were at 70 and 71, respectively.