Woods looks to keep going at FedEx Cup

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NORTON, MASS. (AP) - A chart of FedEx Cup standings at the Deutsche Bank Championship showed Tiger Woods at the top, not unusual considering he was won the cup and its $10 million prize every year he has played.

This chart was different.

It listed the 10 players who are on the bubble at the TPC Boston, starting with Woods at No. 65 through Josh Teater at No. 75. Only the top 70 after this week will advance to the third round of the playoffs at the BMW Championship, where Woods is defending champion.

Woods has failed to defend a title when the tournament has changed dates or when he was injured. Never has he not gone back to a tournament as the defending champion because he was not eligible.

“It’s been a different year,” Woods said.

It might be showing signs of turning around. One tournament is not enough to declare Woods‘ game is back, although his tie for 12th at The Barclays was his best finish since June. Plus, it got him into the second round of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

And for the first time since the Masters, when he returned to golf after a five-month layoff, Woods went through an entire press conference without a mention of his broken marriage or how it got to that point.

Even so, it remains odd to see Woods so far down any list.

Matt Kuchar is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings on the strength of his victory last week to open the four-tournament playoffs. Steve Stricker is No. 2 and the defending champion at the TPC Boston. They are assured of reaching the final round.

Woods is only assured of making the weekend because the Deutsche Bank Championship doesn’t start until Friday, the lone tournament on the PGA Tour schedule that ends on a Monday.

“I’m starting to see some progress, which is nice,” Woods said. “Mentally, I’m hitting the ball much better, hence I have more confidence. I’m driving the ball much straighter, hitting the ball a little bit farther, especially with my irons. And those are all positive signs. It’s just a matter of making it a little bit more natural. And that’s just reps.”

Whether the tournament lasts any longer than Labor Day depends on the path of Hurricane Earl _ the same name as Woods‘ late father. The forecast was for good weather through noon on Friday before it starts getting nasty, with the worst of it late Friday afternoon and into the night.

The tour moved tee times up as much as it could with a 99-man field _ 40 minutes _ with hopes of getting the round in. Officials will decide Friday morning whether to play lift, clean and place to protect against the late starters having to return Saturday morning to complete the first round in what could be a swamp.

“It will be awesome to get this finished tomorrow,” said Mark Russell, a vice president of rules and competition for the tour.

So much is at stake this week _ not one cup, but two.

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