(Reuters): Reigning FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy has been quiet since the PGA Tour's restart in June but hopes to rekindle some TPC Boston magic at this week's playoffs opener where Tiger Woods begins what could be a busy five-week stretch.
McIlroy has yet to manage a top-10 finish since the PGA Tour returned from a three-month COVID-19 hiatus but still has plenty of confidence going into the Northern Trust which is being held on a layout where he has won twice before.
"This is usually a time of year where I've historically played pretty well ... and Boston's a place and a golf course where I've got some nice history, so hopefully that can ignite something for me this week and I can get on a good little run of golf coming up," McIlroy said at TPC Boston.
The top 125 golfers on the season-long FedExCup points list qualified for this week's event. The top 70 players after the Northern Trust advance to next week's BMW Championship outside Chicago, with the top 30 from there heading to Atlanta for the Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship where the winner gets $15 million.
Woods has played just four tournaments in 2020 as part of a limited schedule and now hopes to stay healthy as he faces a potentially busy stretch that could see him play four of the next five weeks given the U.S. Open is set for Sept. 17-20.
The two-time FedExCup champion, who is 49th on the points list and would need couple of strong finishes to make it to Atlanta, said after this year's PGA Championship that he was gearing up for a heavy workload should he need to compete in three consecutive weeks.
"Well, that's potentially what could happen, and we've been training for that," said Woods, who this week will make his fifth attempt at a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour win.
"Trying to get my strength and endurance up to that ability to making sure that I can handle that type of workload."
Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose are among the big-name players in danger of seeing their season come to a close this week as they are all currently outside the top 70 on the points list.
World number seven Brooks Koepka, who was 97th on the list, withdrew from the event earlier on Wednesday.