Tiger Woods admitted yesterday his admiration for how Phil Mickelson has dealt with his wife's illness over recent weeks before adding that he does not know how Mickelson will cope at this week's US Open.
Mickelson will be the centre of attention in New York as he returns to major play for the first time since his wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer last month. Though Woods has experience of having to deal with personal grief in a public setting following the death of his father, Earl, in 2006, the defending champion acknowledged that their circumstances were very different.
"Is it easy? No, it's not easy," said Woods. "When my dad was sick, that's the natural progression. Your parents are supposed to pass away before you. But to have a spouse, you're supposed to go together. I couldn't imagine dealing with what he has to deal with on a daily basis. And hats off to how he's handled it because certainly it's so hard to do. Everywhere you go people are reminding you of it, and you can't get away from it. And you think that the golf course would be your escape, but it's not.
"You're surrounded by people wishing you well the entire time and hoping everything works out. But then again, they keep reminding you of the same circumstance you're dealing with on a daily basis, and you just can't get away from it."