NORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods has more than the No. 1 ranking
on his mind as he prepares for the Deutsche Bank Championship near
Boston: His father has had a relapse of prostate cancer.
"It's been tough," Woods said after a pre-tournament Pro-Am on
Thursday. "It's just like it was back in '96 and '97, when my dad
had a heart attack and had complications with heart surgery."
No one has been more influential in making Woods the golfer he
is than his father, Earl, who taught his toddler to swing a club
and then, when Tiger was a junior golfer, would jangle coins or
shout during his backswing to toughen the kid up.
The elder Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer six years
ago; radiation treatment was believed to be successful. But Earl
Woods told a group of children at a clinic for the Tiger Woods
Foundation on Wednesday that the cancer had come back and spread
throughout his body; forming lesions in his back and a tumor behind
his left eye.
"My eye was literally pushed out of the socket," the
73-year-old Woods told the Boston Herald. "The pain was so bad, it
was past being a headache. There's no such thing as a headache like
that. Every beat of my heart, there was pain. There was no
medication. I tried everything."
Earl Woods said the tumor has been eradicated by radiation and
he's feeling better. That is making Tiger feel better, too.
"He was concerned. And I knew how much he was concerned," Earl
Woods told the Herald. "When I initially told him, he was very
quiet. And he looked at me and said, 'Pop, when I was a little kid,
you promised me you were going to be here until (age) 84. I'm going
to hold you to it.'
"And I said, 'You've got it. I'll be here.'"
Neither Woods had spoken about his relapse illness until
Wednesday. Tiger Woods was less talkative on the subject of his
father's health; asked about how much it was weighing on his mind
as he played, he said only: "A lot."
The Tiger Woods Foundation, created by father and son to promote
the heath, education and welfare of children in America, is the
primary charitable beneficiary of the Deutsche Bank Championship,
which is in its second year. Adam Scott won the inaugural event
over the par-71, 7,415-yard TPC of Boston course; Tiger Woods
finished tied for seventh.
Woods, who serves as a sort of unofficial host for the
tournament, is hoping that the friendly surroundings will help him
snap out of what has been called a slump. Although he has won just
once this year, he's finished in the top 10 in seven of his last
nine tournaments -- five times in the top five -- and he's still
fourth on the money list with more than $4.1 million in earnings
And, according to the rankings at least, Woods is still the No.
1 player in the world.
But Vijay Singh, who has won five tournaments this year,
including his third career major, could move into the No. 1 spot in
the world rankings if he finishes higher than Woods this week.
Woods has been No. 1 since Aug. 15, 1999, a record streak of 264
"I'm tired of listening to that, really," Singh said. "I'm
just going to try to enjoy it. I think that focus has been out of
my mind for two or three months already now and I'm not going to
think about it.
"If it happens this week, it's fine. Sooner or later, someone
is going to overtake that. If it's not me, it's Ernie Els or
somebody else. If I play well this week, it's going to take care of