FORT WORTH, Texas – An opportunity to return to his day job was a welcome respite for Stewart Cink as he faces a difficult off-course battle.
Cink announced last month that he would be taking a break from the PGA Tour to be with his wife, Lisa, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He made a last-minute decision to return this week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, where he shot a 2-over 72 in the opening round.
The former Open champ has been met with an outpouring of support from fellow players since he went public with Lisa’s diagnosis, but he cautioned that his appearance this week isn’t necessarily an indication that his wife’s health has taken a turn for the better.
“Circumstances are improved because we can predict a little bit more about how she’s feeling. So that’s going to be why I come out and play a little bit here and there,” Cink said. “But as far as her circumstances of fighting cancer, they’re not all that great. She’s got advanced cancer, and it’s going to be a difficult fight.”
Cink noted that one of the first phone calls he made after Lisa received her diagnosis was to Phil and Amy Mickelson, as Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.
“Amy really was the one who got us in touch with the doctors at M.D. Anderson. You can imagine, they have quite a bit of pull,” he said. “When you throw around the name Amy and Phil Mickelson, you know, things happen. It was Thursday when we found out, and Monday we were meeting with the top people in the field.”
As for a future schedule, Cink’s plans remain tied to how Lisa responds during her three-week chemotherapy cycles, the second of which she will begin on Tuesday. He didn’t rule out possibly playing next week at the Memorial, but will likely need to wait until the 11th hour to decide as he did this week.
“I’m committed for a lot of tournaments coming up,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to play in a lot, or none.”
He’s making at least one start this week in Fort Worth, and while a return offered him a chance to focus on something other than cancer and chemo treatments, Lisa was never far from his thoughts.
“I don’t think I went one hole today without thinking about her 10 times,” he said.