Tiger Woods struggles in opening round at Northern Trust

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Woods withdrew from The Northern Trust - the first round of the FedExCup Playoffs - on Friday. It was his second-worst score in 89 rounds in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

His last withdrawal came earlier this year in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, when he cited a lingering neck issue.

If you blinked, you might have missed Tiger Woods' trip to Jersey City this week for the PGA Tour stop at Liberty National.

"I knew today we had the flawless greens and I needed to shoot something under (par)", Woods said, according to Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker.

"It's nice to see putts go in early, especially from a little bit of length", he said after a nine-birdie round.

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Woods made a remarkable comeback in 2018 from the spinal fusion surgery, climbing the world rankings from 656th into the top 20 by contending at the Valspar Championship, The Open, the PGA Championship, the BMW Championship and then winning the Tour Championship.

The former world number one is the defending champion in Atlanta after beating Billy Horschel by two shots at East Lake for his first victory since 2013.

Woods has battled back from injuries, including a series of back surgeries, in the latter part of his career. His tie for sixth in the British Open previous year got him back into the top 50 in the world and made him eligible for a World Golf Championship.

He entered this week's event ranked 28th in the FedEx Cup rankings, not yet assured of advancing in a fortnight to the season-ending Tour Championship, where he won a year ago in a rousing performance that set the stage for his Masters triumph.

And with the Ryder Cup, he wound up playing eight times in 11 weeks, including five of the last six. Woods was scheduled to tee off for the second round Friday at 12:33 p.m. These things now are not debilitating enough to keep him out for months at a time, but just enough that he can't compete at the level he needs to compete at.

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