Back stiffness concerning Tiger with 3 playoff events looming
Mike Lawrie / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Tiger Woods is set to return at The Northern Trust after taking an extended break away from golf to get ready for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

However, the time away hasn't erased the 43-year-old's worries about his ailing back, as Woods is set to participate in three straight tournaments for the first time since last postseason, depending on how he performs in the first two playoff events.

"Yes, there is concern," he said Wednesday at Liberty National Golf Club. "Hopefully (from) the pressures that I'm (going to) be facing, hopefully (by putting) myself in contention, that's why it gets difficult."

Woods has only played in four events since his win at the Masters in an attempt to preserve his health. He's been afforded even more time off due to missed cuts at the PGA Championship and The Open.

"If you're missing cuts, who cares. You're taking weekends off and (getting) a couple extra days of rest. But I'm trying to get myself where I'm in contention, where, yeah, it takes a toll on you, and that's what I want to feel. I want to feel that type of tiredness, where I have a chance to win. ... That's a good feeling,'' he added.

But getting into contention might be more difficult now for Woods than it was at the beginning of the season due to his back. He was forced to limit himself to only chipping and putting during the back nine of his Wednesday Pro-Am because of stiffness, an issue that, according to Tiger, can show up at any time.

"It was great,'' he said, regarding how his back felt Tuesday. "As I've said to you guys all year, this is kinda how it is. Some days I'm stiffer than others. (Tuesday) I was out there hitting it great. Driving it out there with Brooksy and D.J. Today, I'm stiff. Hopefully, I'm not that way (Thursday).''

Tiger has competed at Liberty National twice in his career, recording runner-up results on both occasions. He's played The Northern Trust seven times to tie for the most appearances at a tournament without a win in his career.

He sits 28th on the FedEx Cup standings. Only the top 30 after the BMW Championship will advance to the final the Tour Championship, which Tiger won last season.

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Back stiffness concerning Tiger with 3 playoff events looming
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