(Reuters) – The sight of Tiger Woods holding cold water bottles to his neck and rubbing his upper back on Thursday ahead of the Northern Trust triggered speculation about his physical health but the former world number one said there was no need to worry.
Woods, who has a well-documented surgical history and has played a very limited schedule this yeart, said he had “pretty hot oils” applied to his neck to help keep his spine loose for the FedExCup playoff opener.
But while on the practice range ahead of first-round action at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, Woods was seen trying to rub off the excess oil and cool the area down with water.
“My lower back is used to it. It’s accustomed to it. We do it all the time just so I can get loose,” said Woods. “I decided to put some up on my neck, and it’s not as tolerant as my lower back, so it gets awfully hot.”
The excessive heat triggered the scenes of Woods trying to cool down, which quickly had many on social media wondering what, if anything was wrong with the 15-times major champion.
“As soon as you heat up, the whole idea is to keep my spine loose,” said Woods. “My spine is not what it used to be and never will be.”
In only his fifth start this year, Woods had five birdies and two bogeys en route to a three-under-par 68 at TPC Boston where he was four shots off the early lead.
Woods, 44, is 49th on the season-long FedExCup points standings and must be in the top-30 after next week’s BMW Championship to qualify for the Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)