NORTON – He’s been given his customary pro-am tee time, has a pretournament press conference scheduled for Thursday, and is officially paired with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson for the first two rounds.
Plenty of signs point to Tiger Woods playing in this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, but perhaps nobody will know definitively until he appears on the 10th tee Friday for his first round at 8:40 a.m.
Back spasms during last week’s Barclays, his comments immediately after the final round, and Woods’s decision to pull out of a charity tournament on Wednesday have combined for a small bit of uncertainty. But on Tuesday, the day after he informed friend and former college teammate Notah Begay that he’d have to withdraw from Begay’s event in Verona, N.Y., Woods added the Deutsche Bank Championship to the upcoming tournament schedule on his website.
“We’re expecting him to play,” a tournament official said Tuesday. “Nobody has told us otherwise.”
Woods certainly has incentive to play, if he’s healthy enough. He still leads the FedEx Cup playoff race (Scott is No. 2, Mickelson No. 3), but his advantage has been cut to 162 points. He also has a personal connection to the tournament, since the Tiger Woods Foundation has been the primary charitable beneficiary, and this year has taken on the day-to-day operations of the event.
Despite the back spasms, Woods still tied for second at the Barclays. But when asked on Sunday if he’d play this week, he said, “That’s all hypothetical right now.”
Woods is scheduled to play in the tournament’s Thursday pro-am, teeing off No. 1 at 6:50 a.m. The pro-am is usually his only look at the golf course before the tournament, and could be the first sign he’ll play.
Busy day expected
The golf course was closed to spectators on Tuesday, with only a handful of players practicing. Expect a busy practice day on Wednesday . . . Unlike last week, when two of the 125 players eligible for the Barclays chose not to play (Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson), a full field of 100 is expected at the Deutsche Bank Championship . . . Scott will look to join Vijay Singh, who is the only winner of the Barclays to win the following week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Singh did the double in 2008.