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Long Tough Day for Tiger

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Golf is no longer a priority for Tiger Woods.
Woods said Thursday he considered withdrawing from The Players Championship because of his father's failing health and added that skipping the Masters in two weeks was a possibility.
Tiger Woods and Steve Williams
Tiger Woods had five birdies and five bogeys in his even-par 72.
'There's a chance I might not play for a while,' Woods said. 'Who knows? It all depends on how my father is doing.'
Woods traveled cross country Tuesday to check on his on his father, Earl Woods, who has been battling cancer in Cypress, Calif. Woods missed the final practice round Wednesday, flew back to Florida late that night and shot even par in the opening round Thursday.
After making five birdies and five bogeys, he acknowledged it was difficult to concentrate on his round.
'It's just one of those things you have to deal with,' he said. 'Everyone has to deal with that at some point in time in their life, and unfortunately right now it's our time.'
Woods had plenty of support Thursday from playing partner Darren Clarke, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. It has since spread through Heather Clarke's body.
'Today was probably a blessing in disguise to have a pairing like I did with Darren because Darren, as everyone knows, is struggling with the same thing,' Woods said. 'We were kind of talking about it all day.'
Earl Woods was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, but the cancer returned in 2004 and spread to other parts of his body. He has not seen his son play since Woods won his Target World Challenge in December 2004 at Sherwood Country Club.
Earl Woods went to Augusta, Ga., for the Masters last year, but never made it to the course. Woods broke down in tears after winning his fourth green jacket in a playoff.
Woods said he returned to California because his father 'just wasn't doing all that well,' and he hoped to lift his spirit.
'Just trying to make him understand that I love him dearly and just want him to hang in there and keep fighting, which he always does,' Woods said. 'As I said, he's very stubborn. It's good to see.'
Woods said his father was happy to see him -- even though he didn't receive what some would consider a warm welcome.
'He said, 'What the hell are you doing here?' It was nice to hear that,' Woods said.
The elder Woods didn't tell his son to return to the TPC at Sawgrass. Woods, however, decided to play in hopes of giving his dad something exciting to watch.
'It's not about me hitting golf shots,' Woods said. 'It's about him. I want him around as long as possible, so it's not about hitting some kind of golf shot at all. It's about him feeling better and keep fighting and keep hanging in there.
'Hopefully, I can get on TV and hit some good shots, and he can watch it and give him something to look forward to every day. That's always a positive thing.'
Woods didn't provide him with too many highlights on a damp and dreary day. He went seven holes without a par -- he made four bogeys and three birdies -- but got back to even par with an 8-foot putt on the par-5 16th. He almost moved under par on No. 18, but his 30-footer slid just past the cup.
'It totally was (sporadic) because I'd hit two good shots and then hit one off the planet somewhere, hit two good putts and all of a sudden blast one 4 or 5 feet past the hole,' he said. 'It just wasn't very good early.'
Related Links:
  • Tiger Woods' Scorecard
  • Leaderboard- The Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship