But the 27-year-old from Southport was in that position at Shinnecock Hills because of a disappointing third round of 78, a situation which has occurred on other notable occasions.
He took an ice bath.
But anecdotal evidence would suggest that Woods had a stiff back on Saturday when he shot a 73 at Firestone Country Club, making just one birdie. And a lot of stretching. "Did a light lift yesterday and was ready to go for today".
But‚ like his compatriots‚ he is only one good round away from rediscovering the form and game that has made him a top 15 player in the world in the past.
Ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, hold the last two places but a host of rivals are within reach, the nearest being Bryson DeChambeau and five-time major victor Phil Mickelson.
He returns almost as much of a mystery as when the year started.
The 2016 Masters is the flipside for Spieth - he let slip a five-shot lead on the back nine during a collapse that echoed far beyond the reach of Augusta National.
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It's been like that all year.
"Any tournament's a tough one to win, but this one especially is".
Streelman finished in the top 10 at the John Deere Classic last month, but he missed the cut last week at the Barracuda Championship, the tournament that runs concurrently with the WGC event.
"If I play well, I'm going to have a really good chance to win", Thomas said.
"They're going to have a really strong team - in theory, possibly the strongest team Europe's ever fielded, " Furyk said.
A year ago as the last major: Starting in 2019, the PGA Championship will move to May, part of an overall schedule overhaul that will give the major season more continuity ... but it'll also mean a long wait from the British Open in July to the Masters in April.
"I was in that situation paired with Davis (Love) looking for a spot in "16", Furyk said". Will one them capture their second major of the year?
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"He's got all the components of the game", Rory McIlroy said. He's building up all that.
"If he could go ahead and win another major with his fifth golf swing, I mean, that's unbelievable".
The schedule change is designed in part to stoke interest in what has typically flown under the radar as golf's fourth major. "But having a fixed point in my spine is very different".
McIlroy since then has played in the final group three times, including at the Masters.
Woods has climbed from off-the-charts to 20th in the standings over the past seven months, taking a big jump after contending in the British Open at Carnoustie. "If asked, that's what I would remind players".
"In golf, you just have to be an eternal optimist", McIlroy said. "I know that Tiger always wanted to compete, and he's been moving up the points this year which has been fun to watch". "It will be cool for him to be back, and he obviously has a lot of great success in this tournament, as he does most of the ones he's played in".
Woods no longer has that luxury.
There are two major championships taking place at the Bellerive Country Club this week. "From that point on, I have three or four weeks before I have to make those picks", Furyk said.
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Now a more mellow 42-year-old, he is viewed nearly as a father-figure by the young generation of Americans such as Jordan Spieth.