Tiger has stiff neck, back at Barclays from hotel bed

Tiger has stiff neck, back at Barclays from hotel bed

Tiger Woods is coming off a disappointing performance at the PGA Championship.
Carlos M. Saavedra / Sports Illustrated

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — What does the world's best player have to do to get a good night's sleep?

Maybe it was memories of the rough at Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill that kept Tiger Woods up at night. Do visions of Y.E. Yang dance around in his head once it hits the pillow? Perhaps he tossed and turned while he tried to figure out just how those darn FedEx Cup playoffs work.

Or maybe he just needed a firm mattress like the one he has back home in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods played the front nine of Wednesday's pro-am, but didn't hit a full shot on the back nine due to stiffness in his neck and back.

"It was stiff this morning after a soft bed, and it was just one of those things — sleeping in hotels — I didn't want to push it," Woods said.

Tiger didn't appear to have glaring issues on his first nine holes Wednesday morning, but took it easy on the back nine by only chipping and putting. On Sunday at the PGA Championship, Woods stretched throughout the round, but insisted that today's back issues weren't related.

"No, it was fine at home," Woods said. "Hotel beds."

When asked if he would have a new bed brought in, Tiger responded: "What do you think?"

Liberty National hosted the Barclays in 2009, and the players and caddies were less than complimentary of the course. Woods called the course "interesting." The good kind of interesting? "It's interesting." This time around, things have changed for the better.

"The golf course is very different than the last time we played it," Woods said. "It's not only they made a bunch of changes, but it's really dried out. The last time we played it, it certainly was not that way with the weather."

The course owner Paul Fireman can't control the weather, but could change the course design. Since 2009, Fireman has made sweeping changes — 11 greens were rebuilt or reconstructed, 13 landing areas were altered and 11 tee boxes were reshaped — all out of his pocket.

"They made some really nice, positive improvements," Woods said.

Woods singled out Liberty National's closing hole as a hole that has become better by simply shortening the monster par-4.

"I think coming down 18 with a chance, it's easier than what it used to be," Woods said. "We had the same tee box, but it's up 30 yards now. It's a hole where I remember hitting driver, 4-iron into this thing, and a lot of the guys I was playing with were hitting driver, hybrid in. It's still 500 yards, and a 500-yard finishing hole is always a good hole."

Whether or not Woods will be on No. 18 with a chance to win on Sunday depends on which version takes the course this week: The "Almost Shot 59 Bridgestone Invitational Tiger" or the "Hide The Children, He's Pulling Out Driver at PGA Championship Tiger."

But even if he does compete — or win — this week, that won't change the zero that sits in the column that he judged himself solely upon for so long: majors won.

"You're looking over a course of a career, and you're going to have years where you don't win major championships and years that you do," Woods said. "There's years where I've won one tournament and years where I've won nine. So as long as I keep winning in all those years, it's not too bad."

Even by your standards?

"My standards, it's a great year."

It might be a great week for Tiger at the Barclays.

If only he can get a good night's sleep.

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