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Tiger Woods of the US during practice at the Open Championship - Carnoustie, Britain - July 18, 2018. That moment was the first glaring alarm that something was very wrong with Woods' back - an unfortunate harbinger of the hard years ahead.

For now, the hope is to make his way through the FedEx Cup. But compared to where he was at the beginning of the season, he thinks it is one of his finest seasons of his career.

Brooks Koepka, the two-time U.S. Open champion and reigning PGA Championship victor, was a little foggy on the details of the match. That would typically lead to better results than just two birdies to that point.

But with those days probably long gone, a manufactured showdown for cash may well be the last chance to see the two battle for anything significant.

"We're able to showcase golf at a different time and different platforms and I think this will be fun". I wasn't thinking about the tour. Atlanta is a little bit more preferred than the others but I'm in a position where I can play well and hopefully maintain my spot, if not drop too much, because everyone's main goal is to be in that top five come Atlanta and you can control your own destiny.

Woods is on his "real" comeback tour.

"I just haven't shown up", he said. "But man, it's been so special to have this opportunity". And I don't know how many more years I have left, but I'm certainly not like I was when I was 22.

Woods will tee off early on Saturday alongside England's Ian Poulter. That was only good news for one of them.

With 79 titles on the US Tour, Woods needs four wins to surpass golf great Snead (82) and the 42-year-old is confident he can defy the odds.

For Woods, it was more of the same - a bunch of missed putts and a relatively frustrating day despite shooting a 3-under-par 68 and playing his first bogey-free round of 2018.

It's been a different kind of year, for sure.

"That atmosphere is a bigger stage with more people and more energy", Hoge said after a practice round on Tuesday. In the interview, Faldo described what he heard: Woods said his playing career may be over at the 2017 Masters champions dinner. "People understand that", he said.

But in the first FedEx Cup playoff event, Woods has made only four birdies. He tees off at the Northern Trust this week.

The award is given annually to a player who best exemplifies the character, charity and sportsmanship of Stewart, the three-time major champion who died in a plane crash on the Monday of the 1999 Tour Championship. The other events are as follows: Dell Technologies Championship, the BMW Championship, and the TOUR Championship in which the victor will be crowned the FedEx Cup champion and take home the $10 million prize. It felt like a Ryder Cup. "Just the way it is, the way it goes". Woods is also a virtual lock to be one of Jim Furyk's captain's selections for the Ryder Cup, so a missed cut would not have been tremendously consequential for his immediate future.

With such a heavy schedule coming up, Woods admits he has to change how he prepares for each tournament.

"It's exciting to play the playoffs again, it's been a while for me", Woods said.

"Yeah, that is a lot of golf".