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Tiger Woods arrives at Medinah for BMW Championship

Golfweek logo Golfweek 8/13/2019 Steve DiMeglio

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MEDINAH, Ill. - Tiger Woods flew in from Florida on Tuesday and drove into a massive parking lot at 1:20 p.m. local time at Medinah Country Club, home to this week's BMW Championship, the second of three events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Now he has to get to the first tee for Thursday's first round.

At 43 and following four surgeries to his back - as well as four to his left knee - Woods has spoken often this summer that some days he feels stiff, other days he feels fine. It's the day-to-day unknown that leaves his start in the BMW Championship in question, no matter his intent to play.

Woods said he decided to try and play in the tournament Tuesday morning.

"I feel good," Woods said as he got out of the courtesy vehicle. "Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning so I thought I'd give it a go."

Woods said he was going to get treatment on his back at Medinah and would not hit any golf balls. He has a 7:50 a.m. (ET) tee time for the pro-am Wednesday. He's scheduled to tee off in Thursday's first round at 12:54 p.m. ET alongside C.T. Pan and Billy Horschel.

Last week Woods looked fine physically in a Tuesday practice round ahead of the Northern Trust at Liberty National in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline. The following day in the pro-am, however, he didn't hit a full shot on the final nine holes. Then he withdrew from the tournament after shooting 75 in the first round, citing a mild oblique strain that led to pain and stiffness.

It was the first time since he returned from spinal fusion surgery in April 2017 that Woods withdrew during a tournament.

Still, showing up at Medinah is a good sign. Woods, who last played in the Chicago area in 2013, when he tied for 11 th in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, needs a strong showing this week to advance to next week's Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, the season finale.

Woods is 38 th in the standings and only the top 30 advance to Atlanta. Last year, Woods capped his remarkable return to the game by winning the Tour Championship, his first victory since 2013.

He has good memories to call upon at Medinah. He won the 1999 PGA Championship here, holding off Sergio Garcia by one shot. He also won the 2006 PGA Championship here, by five shots.

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But Woods will have to improve on his recent form to have a chance to defend his title next week. Since winning the Masters in April, he has played just 13 rounds of golf and missed cuts in the PGA Championship and British Open. In all, he has played 11 events this season.

Woods has frequently cited stiffness in his back during the summer. After the first round in the Northern Trust, Woods said "that's just the way it is going to be."

In March, Woods withdrew three days prior to the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain. He played the Players Championship the following week and tied for 30 th.

Two weeks later, he tied for fifth in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and two weeks after that he won the Masters for the fifth time. It was his first major triumph since winning the 2008 U.S. Open. The victory was his 81st on the PGA Tour, just one shy of the record held by Sam Snead.

Since then, however, Woods has been fighting a losing battle with his body. The battle continues this week.

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Related slideshow: A look at Tiger’s career (Provided by photo services)

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