Champion Woods set for emotional week at Augusta
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Four-times champion Tiger
Woods is prepared for an emotional U.S. Masters week as his
father continues to battle cancer.
In 1997, American Woods played at Augusta National for the
first time as a professional, going on to win the title by a
record 12 strokes after his father had helped him with his
The fact that his father Earl came to the course at all
that year was a miracle because he was still recovering from
“My dad was actually dead after they had complications in
his surgery but somehow they revived him,” world number one
Woods told a news conference on Tuesday as he prepared for
Thursday’s opening round.
“He wasn’t supposed to come here anyways but somehow he
came and gave me a putting lesson and I putted great.
“This has been a very special week for us as a family ever
When Woods secured his fourth green jacket last year, he
dedicated the victory to his ailing father who had traveled to
Augusta from his home in Cypress, California but was unable to
be at the course.
“That was important for us a family because my dad couldn’t
make it out to the golf course, even though he was able to
travel,” the 30-year-old Woods added. “That’s no longer the
Earl Woods, 74, has been battling prostate cancer since
1998. The cancer was initially eradicated by radiation therapy
but returned in 2004, causing lesions on his back and a tumor
behind his left eye.
His son missed the last practice day before the Players
Championship in Florida two weeks ago to spend time with his
father in California.
At the time, Woods junior said he would consider pulling
out of the Masters if his father’s condition deteriorated.
Asked on Tuesday whether that was still a possibility,
Woods replied: “I hope not.
“He’s fighting. If anyone can fight and grind it out, it
would be him. He’s as tough as they come.”
Tiger was introduced to golf as a very young child by his
father, who has been a lifelong mentor, adviser and friend to
his son. The pair retain very strong bonds and speak daily on
“I’m very proud of my dad,” the 10-times major winner said.
“He’s a tremendous fighter and has got an unbelievable will.
Hopefully he’s passed a little bit of that on to me.”
Woods maintained his father’s failing health had not
distracted him at the Players Championship, where he tied for
22nd after closing with a 75.
“I’ve been dealing with it for years, so nothing’s
changed,” he said. “It is what it is and you just deal with it.
“Everyone who has had a family member who lived that long
is probably going to deal with it sometime. Unfortunately it’s
our time now.
“As far as that being a distraction for me on the golf
course, no. At the Players I had plenty of time to focus on
each and every shot. I hit poor shots and putted terrible.
“You add that all in together and I didn’t finish very well
in the tournament.”
The 70th Masters starts on Thursday.