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Tiger's biggest scandal loss seen in Mickelson's tears

other Updated: Apr 12, 2010 11:29 IST
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Phil Mickelson's emotional embrace of cancer-fighting wife Amy and their family on Sunday after winning the Masters showed just how much more than a golf tournament Tiger Woods has lost.

When asked for perspective on his first competitive golf event after a sex scandal that caused a five-month layoff, Woods ignored the larger question and focused on golf, one of the few things he seems to have now from happier days.

"I finished fourth. Not what I wanted. I wanted to win this tournament. As the week wore on I kept hitting the ball worse," Woods said.

"I entered this event. I only enter events to win and I didn't get it done. I didn't hit the ball good enough and I made too many mistakes around the greens."

Barely a chip shot away was Amy Mickelson, who has been weakened by her medication to combat breast cancer. She had not traveled in 11 months until this week and was bed-ridden until seeing the final round at Augusta National.

Having her there to share his moment of triumph brought Phil Mickelson such joy that he cried in her arms, sadder memories pushed aside by a victory he dedicated to her.

"To have Amy and my kids to be here to share this with, especially with all that we have been through in the past year, it means a lot to us," Mickelson said. "To walk off the green and share that with her is very emotional for us.

Elin Woods, the wife Woods has admitted betraying with mutliple mistresses, was not at the Masters. Nor were Woods' children. His mother attended. His later father Earl's voice could be heard in a Nike commercial.

On the same 18th green where Woods embraced his late father after his 1997 victory to become the first black champion in major golf history, Woods was a man in a red shirt with a big corporate logo who was intent on talking golf.

What did he take from this week, in which he finished with a 69 to share fourth on 11-under 277, five shots and one family adrift of Mickelson?

"I gave myself a chance. I didn't hit the ball very good on the weekend, didn't putt well yesterday but overall I gave myself a shot at it," Woods said.

When might Woods play again?

"I'm going to take a little time off and kind of re-evaluate things," he said.

Woods did find something that bolstered him after months of humiliation, his perseverance in the face of early struggles on the golf course.

"It was a really tough day. I felt very uneasy on every shot I hit out there," Woods said.

"I tried as hard as I possibly could to give myself a chance. I really dug deep to find something and that's something I'm pretty proud of."

Woods did go out of his way to say that his profanity in Saturday's second round after a few botched shots should not be such an issue, even though it was Woods who said he would try to control such outbursts in a bid to show greater respect to the game.

"I think people are making way too much of a big deal of this thing," Woods said. "I was not feeling good. I hit a big snipe off the first hole and I don't know how people can think I should be happy about that."

Woods clearly was able to set aside any guilt or remorse over his actions to put himself in contention for a 15th major title, but his focus after losing the Masters seemed like the Woods of old more than the one who pondered bigger issues just six days earlier.

"What I've done, it puts it in perspective," Woods said last Monday. "It's not about championships. It's about how you live your life. I had not done that the right way for a while and I needed to change that. Going forward I need to be a better man than I was before."

Where the scoreboard is on that quest for redemption after this week remains to be seen.