Tiger Woods' physical state was in better shape than his game Thursday in the opening round of the BMW Championship in Medinah, Ill.
A week after pulling out of the playoff-opening Northern Trust due to an oblique injury, Woods experienced no health issues while shooting a 1-under-par 71 at Medinah Country Club.
Problem was, 49 of the other 68 players in the field put up lower scores, leaving Woods in a precarious state. He likely will need to finish no lower than 11th place to advance to next week's playoff finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
"I didn't feel any tightness in my oblique at all, I didn't feel any Woods said. "So that was a positive. I just need to clean up my rounds and get going. Seems like the whole field's under par."
Woods got off to a strong start, making birdies at Nos. 1, 3 and 5 surrounding a bogey at No. 4. However, his play then tailed off, and he registered two bogeys and just one birdie through the remainder of his round.
At least he doesn't have to worry about missing the cut this week, as all players will compete for all four rounds in the limited-field event.
"I'm going to have to make a lot of birdies," Woods said looking ahead to the next three days. "There's so many guys under par that I'm going to have to shoot some low rounds just to get back in it."
Woods is currently 38th in the FedEx Cup standings, and only the top 30 players after the BMW Championship will qualify for the Tour Championship.
Should Woods make it to Atlanta, it would be hard to rule him out as a contender. He won the Tour Championship last year, his third victory in the event. Woods also captured the 2007 Tour Championship at East Lake, and he won the event in 1999 at Champions Golf Club's Cypress Creek Course in Houston.
Woods has endured an up-and-down season while occasionally struggling with his surgically repaired back. He won the Masters and posted three other top-10 results but missed the cut in the PGA Championship and the Open Championship surrounding a tie for 21st in the U.S. Open.
--Field Level Media