It has been a tough week for Tiger Woods

It has been a tough week for Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods practices for The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. on Tuesday. (Sam Greenwood / Getty Images)

May 3 has been a difficult date for Tiger Woods for some time.

But the anniversary of the death of Earl Woods was more difficult this past Sunday.


The loss of his father, mentor and first coach coincided with the end of Woods' high-profile relationship of nearly three years with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.

Woods is known for his fiery resolve on the golf course and fierce protectiveness of his private life. But Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass he let his guard down with reporters, admitting the last few days had been exhausting.

Woods, 39, will return to competition Thursday in the Players Championship. Woods last played competitively April 12 during the final round of the Masters.

"Obviously, it does affect me," Woods said of his breakup with Vonn. "It is tough, there's no doubt. I'm not going to lie about that, it is tough. On top of that, this time of year is really, really hard on me.

"This three-day window is really hard. I haven't slept. These three days, May 3rd through 5th, today, it's just brutal on me. And then obviously with what happened Sunday just adds to it."

The announcement came Sunday — Woods on his website and Vonn on her Facebook page — that they no longer are dating.

Vonn noted the "incredibly hectic lives" each leads as the most famous competitor in their respective sport.

The news was a surprise, considering Vonn accompanied Woods' children last month during the par-three contest a day before the Masters.

The Masters was the last time Woods teed it up, and his first appearance since walking off during the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in February. That came after Woods carded a second-round 82, his worst score as a professional, in the Phoenix Open. He decided to take time off to find his game and regain his confidence.

Woods showed positive signs at the Masters. He entered the final round tied for fifth place, but shot a 73 and ended in a tie for 17th.

"I've made some huge, I mean huge, strides since what I was at Torrey and at Phoenix. Huge," he said. "To go from that to what I was at Augusta, I work my [tail] off to get to that point. I worked hard."

But during the fourth round, Woods also seemed to injure his right wrist on a shot off a tree root, the latest injury for Woods, who has struggled with his health since his last of 14 major championship wins, the 2008 U.S. Open.

Woods missed last year's Players Championship following back surgery. On Tuesday, he said his wrist is fine and his overall fitness level is excellent, potentially allowing him to play a busy schedule during the coming months.

A 79-time winner on the PGA Tour, Woods is committed to play in the Memorial, the U.S. Open, the Greenbrier Classic, the British Open and the Quicken Loans National.

"I'm going to play more tournaments from here on out," he said.

Whether Woods contends is the question.

Woods won the 2013 Players, one of five wins that season, but he has not won since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. His last top 10 was the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open.

After his practice round Tuesday, Woods admitted he is a "little bit" rusty. Asked if he can carry some momentum from his showing at the Masters, he said, "I'd like to say yes. I've had some pretty good practice sessions."