Sleepless nights for Woods over Vonn split, father's death

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn Call It Quits

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Tiger Woods felt rusty and tired Tuesday at The Players Championship - rust because he has played one tournament in three months, fatigue because of his personal life.

He said only part of that was breaking up with Lindsey Vonn.

Woods and the Olympic ski champion jointly announced on Sunday they were splitting up after more than two years because of their hectic schedules as athletes.

"Obviously, it does affect me," Woods said after a nine-hole practice round at TPC Sawgrass. "It's tough. There's no doubt. I'm not going to lie about that. And on top of that, this time of the year is really, really hard on me."

Sunday was the anniversary of his father's death. Tuesday was nine years to the day that a memorial service for Earl Woods was held at the Tiger Woods Learning Center.

"I haven't slept," he said. "These three days, May 3rd and through the 5th, today, is just brutal on me. And then with obviously what happened on Sunday, it just adds to it."

His time on the golf course hasn't been terribly easy, though Woods believes he is making progress.

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn
See Gallery
Sleepless nights for Woods over Vonn split, father's death
Lindsey Vonn speaks to Tiger Woods during the Par 3 contest at the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08: Tiger Woods' girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, son Charlie and daughter Sam watch the play during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
BEAVER CREEK, CO - FEBRUARY 12: Lindsey Vonn of the United States speaks with boyfriend Tiger Woods after crossing the finish of the Ladies' Giant Slalom in Red Tail Stadium on Day 11 of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on February 12, 2015 in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: Golfer Tiger Woods (L) and ski racer Lindsey Vonn attend Tiger Jam 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 17, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
VAL D'ISERE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 21: (FRANCE OUT) Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn of USA during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on December 21, 2013 in Val d'Isere, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 03: Skiier Lindsey Vonn and Nadine Moze follow the play of Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team during the Day One Four-Ball Matches at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on October 3, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods, left, watches United States' Lindsey Vonn, right, during the women’s giant slalom competition at the alpine skiing world championships on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, left, exchange a kiss in the finish area of an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Lindsey Vonn won a super-G Monday for her record 63rd World Cup victory and celebrated with an embrace from a surprise visitor, boyfriend Tiger Woods. The American broke Annemarie Moser-Proell's 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup wins with a flawless run down the Olympia delle Tofane course, finishing 0.85 ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. (AP Photo/Ivan Carabini)
Tiger Woods, right, and his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, left, react during the opening ceremony at the Quicken Loans National golf tournament, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Lindsey Vonn is flanked by her boyfriend Tiger Woods as she leaves after an alpine ski, women's World Cup downhill, in Val D'Isere, France, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Lindsey Vonn is confident that her latest knee trouble will not stop her from competing at the Sochi Games in February. With boyfriend Tiger Woods watching from the bottom of the slope, Vonn missed a gate in Saturday's World Cup downhill at Val d'Isere as her troublesome right knee buckled under her and gave way. The American was clearly distressed after skiing off course and looked close to tears. She didn't fall but grimaced as she pulled up, clutching her knee. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2013 file photo, United States team player Tiger Woods, right, smiles with girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn, after the U.S. team won the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Vonn is working her way back from a second right knee operation that kept her from skiing at the Sochi Olympics. Woods is recovering from surgery to relieve pain from a pinched nerve in his back that caused him to miss the Masters. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Tiger Woods and his girlfriend US skier Lindsey Vonn, are seen together during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf Championship, Muirfield, Scotland, Monday, July 15, 2013. The British Open begins on Thursday, July 18. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Tiger Woods, left, and Lindsey Vonn watch from the sidelines as the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs warm up before an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
FILE - This Oct. 3, 2013 file photo shows Tiger Woods watching with his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn at the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Vonn announced on Sunday, May 3, 2015, that she and Woods have decided to end their three-year relationship. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, file)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods attend the Costume Institute Gala for the 'PUNK: Chaos to Couture' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for
Tiger Woods reacts after teeing off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Woods turned in a remarkable performance at the Masters - not so much by previous standards but by recent play.

His chipping was shockingly bad when he shot 82 in the Phoenix Open to miss the cut by 12 shots, and at Torrey Pines when he withdrew after 11 holes on a cool day because of tightness in his back. Woods stepped away until he could fix his game.

At Augusta National, it was as if that was never an issue. He never had a chance to win - not many did the way Jordan Spieth played - and tied for 17th.

Woods did not qualify for the Match Play Championship last week because he has dropped out of the top 100 in the world for the first time since he first came on tour in 1996. And he didn't sound entirely optimistic about carrying any momentum from the Masters onto a course that has been feast or famine for him through the years.

"I'd like to say yes," he said. "I've had some pretty good practice sessions. My short game still feels really good. We made a couple little swing tweaks since then to keep improving, to keep working on it, to keep getting it better, so that part is still a little bit fresh. I'm going to start playing a little bit more now."

Woods won The Players the last time he played in 2013. He missed last year while recovering from back surgery. It was his second victory at TPC Sawgrass. He was a runner-up to Hal Sutton in 2000. But he also has withdrawn twice and has finished out of the top 20 on six other occasions.

He has never been a big fan of this Pete Dye design, though he has shown over his career that he can win anywhere if he's playing well.

"I'm telling you, when you're on, this golf course doesn't seem that hard," Woods said. "You can really go low. You feel like every round you shoot 67 or lower. And then you get days where, 'God, I feel like I can't break 75 here.' It's one of those places. It's very polarizing. You either have it or you don't."

Woods will have three weeks off after The Players and then plans a regular summer schedule. He will play every other week starting with the Memorial through the PGA Championship. He was at Sawgrass with swing consultant Chris Como. As he has said before, it is a work in progress.

"It's certainly coming," he said. "I've made some huge, huge strides since what I was at Torrey and what I was at Phoenix. Huge. ... I'm on the right road. Eventually, it'll click in and I'll have a little run here."

If it's the right road, it's a long one.

Woods hasn't won since the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013. He hasn't played much since because of back problems that led to surgery, after which he released another swing coach. He is No. 125 in the world. He is No. 196 in the FedEx Cup, two spots below John Daly.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, is not expected to arrive until Wednesday. He has taken over in golf by winning four of the last 16 majors, and he is coming off another World Golf Championship title at the Match Play.

Spieth was playing an 18-hole match with best buddy Justin Thomas, another 21-year-old in Daniel Berger and Jimmy Walker.

Woods played nine holes, spoke to the media and then retreated to the practice area. There is still work to do.

More from
Accused Texas gunman was former target of FBI terror probe
Obama jokes with Letterman about post-retirement life
Bernie Sanders used to moonlight as a comedy actor

Read Full Story

People are Reading