Tiger Woods: Back will be OK

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- On Friday morning, Tiger Woods woke up with a stiff lower back that he attributed to sleeping on a soft hotel mattress. Woods said that during his warm-up before his tee time his back got progressively worse.

At times during his round, it was difficult for him to get his ball out of the cup or pick up his tee.

Yet the discomfort didn't keep Woods from shooting a 2-under-par 69 on Friday for a 5-under total, three shots off the lead held by Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia entering the weekend of the first FedEx Cup playoff event.

Woods said he was never in danger of not being able to complete the second round.

"It was like a sectional movement. It didn't hurt standing up or at the bottom of a squat," Woods said. "But somewhere in between there it was going to catch. It would grab just before impact."

Woods has a long injury history dating back to his freshman year at Stanford, when he had surgery to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue in his left knee.

Most recently in March, during the pro-am at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 74-time PGA Tour winner felt a twinge in his back after a photographer took a picture in the middle of his backswing.

At Doral in March, Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Invitational with a strained Achilles.

But since those two incidences, the 14-time major champion had not shown signs of any recurring injuries.

Woods didn't appear at all phased by the events that unfolded Friday.

"I've been dealing with this stuff since I was 18. I had my first cut at Stanford in '94," he said.

Earlier this week, Woods' swing instructor, Sean Foley, told ESPN.com that he was very pleased with the way Woods' body was holding up through a very rigorous schedule. Starting this week, Woods will play three consecutive weeks, then will take a week off before doing the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup on back-to-back weeks.

"He's playing a lot of tournaments and practicing, and that's extremely good,'' Foley said. "To have no recurrence or injury with a pretty busy schedule is a good sign. More than anything else, the most important part is to learn the pattern that is less evasive and doesn't break down the body so he can play golf for 15 more years if he chooses to.''

Woods' slight injury on Friday isn't likely to impact his schedule for the remainder of the playoffs or his play on the weekend at the Barclays. And he was clear to make a distinction about what happened Friday and some of his major injuries.

"There is a difference between pain and injury," he said. "This is just a little bit of pain."

After the round, Woods headed to the PGA Tour's fitness trailer, where he got treatment for his back. And as for the soft mattress that agitated it, he said that he plans to sleep on the floor this weekend.