Tiger Woods on Friday confirmed that he will play the Northern Trust next week in Boston, the first leg of the 2020 FedEx Cup Playoffs, which will conclude the 2019-20 PGA Tour season. Woods, who last played in the 2020 PGA Championship, has been selective in which events he has played since the return of golf amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was expected that Woods would play the Northern Trust and attempt a run in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which also includes the BMW Championship (Aug. 27-30) and Tour Championship (Sept. 4-7). The Northern Trust will be Woods' sixth event this season. He will need to finish in the top 70 out of approximately 125 participants to advance to the BMW Championship.
With the 2020 U.S. Open looming early in the realigned 2020-21 season, golfers will only have one week between the Tour Championship and the season's first major. Should Woods finish in the top 30 after the BMW Championship, he could potentially play four golf events over a five-week span.
Woods' back has at times given him fits of stiffness throughout the 2019-20 season, which is a concern given the potentially grueling schedule ahead. But he finished the PGA Championship on a strong note and said he felt he responded well to a physically demanding course like TPC Harding Park.
"I kept layering up, made sure that I stayed on the warm side, if anything, and tried to make sure I stayed, if anything, sweaty, kept loose," he said last week. "Overall the body reacted pretty good."
Being selective in his participation on the tour has given Tiger's body time to react and steadily ramp up, and he's been intentional with how he approaches his schedule, particularly around major championships.
"After The TOUR Championship, we have a couple weeks off," he said last week. "That will be a nice break for all the guys who have played their way through the Playoffs and through this grind of World Golf Championship, a major, then a Playoff run. It'll be a welcome couple weeks.
"It's a long grind. Playing well at the right times, it's all about timing when you get to the TOUR Championship, so the Playoffs is a different structure, so we'll see what happens.
Woods won the Zozo Championship earlier this year but has otherwise been unspectacular in his other four appearances. He finished T37 at the PGA Championship last week after a T40 finish at the Memorial Tournament about a month prior.