Woods looks, feels healthy ahead of Deutsche Bank

Tiger Woods speaks to the media during his press interview after his pro-am round at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

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NORTON, Mass. – There remained a mystery, but it changed in scope.

Tiger Woods’ back? No, that took a back seat to another, the mystery as to how it could have been reported that Woods was onsite at TPC Boston on Wednesday afternoon when, in fact, he wasn’t.

So, whom did they get him mixed up with? John Huh?

Oh, well. The extension of the story is this: Woods did indeed arrive onsite, not Wednesday as tweeted but Thursday morning, as was expected. On time for his 6:50 a.m. pro-am tee time, Woods not only came prepared to poke fun at the erroneous reports but to play some golf.

That’s right, golf. On foot. With powerful swing intact.

In other words, the back is fine.

Well, maybe “fine” is a going a bit too far, but given that much of the world last saw Woods when he was down on hands and knees in the 13th fairway of Liberty National, it seemed safe to say he was improved, no? Woods agreed. “It’s a lot better than Sunday,” he said. “It’s nice to have that extra day of rest.”

Given that the Deutsche Bank Championship begins on Friday and concludes Monday, Woods had three idle days following the final round of The Barclays. “Treatment every day, two to three times a day,” Woods said. “It feels good.”

The treatment consisted of “ice, stim(ulation), ultrasound, soft tissue,” and based on what he did Thursday morning – paired with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and three other amateurs, Anshu Jain, John Lundgren and Javier Martin Romano – Woods would call the treatments a success.

“It was nice to go out today and feel comfortable and be able to hit shots,” Woods said, adding that it might have been better than anticipated.

“I was only going to play nine holes and (then) chip and putt on the back nine like I did at Barclays (pro-am), but it felt good so I continued playing today.”

Several times Woods talked of “full activation,” as if he were about to be launched into space by NASA for a lunar probe, and then he said of the treatment that the “firing sequence” was good. Deciphering it all and coming to the bottom line, Woods said he’s “ready to go.”

Now if you walked Woods’ pro-am round and searched for signs that he might be hurting, you came up empty. But the reality is, if you get away from the melodrama of what transpired in the 13th fairway – falling to his knees – Woods’ back issue is not a shock.

It’s also not limited to him only.

One caddie shook his head earlier this week, saying that of the 100 who are teeing it up at TPC Boston this week, “85 of them probably are hurting in some way, shape or form.”

Even Woods tried to distance himself from the withering scene that dominated the spotlight at The Barclays last Sunday.

“It’s part of playing sports. We push it and we have little knick-knack injuries that happen,” Woods said. “It’s the nature of what we do as an athlete. 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.”

Of course, for all the times Woods said he was fine, there’s enough of an understanding that none of it matters until he is seen in competitive mode. That will arrive sooner than later, Woods’ first-round tee time scheduled for 8:40 a.m. Friday alongside Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.

They are Nos. 1-2-3, respectively, in the world rankings and also the FedEx Cup standings.

“Obviously a little different pairing,” Woods said. “But it’s still a fun, exciting pairing for us. We enjoy it.”

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