Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn announced their breakup on Sunday, ending their relationship of almost three years. The news comes on the heels of Woods’ return to the golf course.
“After nearly three years together, Tiger and I have mutually decided to end our relationship,” Vonn said in an announcement on Facebook. “I will always cherish the memories that we've created together. Unfortunately, we both lead incredibly hectic lives that force us to spend a majority of our time apart. I will always admire and respect Tiger. He and his beautiful family will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Woods last played competitive golf at the Masters. He finished tied for 17th place at minus-five overall, and said he wouldn’t be playing in his next tournament “for a while.” Four weeks later, he’s ready to try and win his first tournament of 2015 at the Players Championship, but the timing couldn’t be worse.
In addition to breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Woods is preparing to play near the anniversary of his father’s death. Earl Woods died on May 3, 2006.
"Obviously, it does affect me," Woods told reporters 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."
"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."
Woods’ breakup with ex-wife Elin Nordegren was one of the most highly publicized sports-related stories of the past decade. The couple officially divorced in Aug. 2010, and Woods and Vonn went public with their relationship in March 2013.
It’s been nearly two years since Woods won a tournament, getting an eighth career victory at the WBC Bridgestone Invitational. He’s hoping that he can turn an encouraging performance at Augusta into an even better one this weekend.
"I've had some pretty good practice sessions," Woods said. "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 has been given the seventh-best betting odds to win the Players Championship, via Bovada.lv.
Vonn, meanwhile, is coming off strong performances at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail, Colorado, and in the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Meribel, France.