“My short game still feels really good,” he said at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
What feels less great, however, is Woods himself. The 39-year-old admitted he was “a little bit tired,” after not sleeping since Sunday.
“This time of year is really, really hard on me,” Woods said, alluding to his dad, who died May 3, 2006. “This three-day window is really hard. I haven’t slept. These three days, May 3rd and through the 5th, today, is just brutal on me.”
Woods’ dad Earl, who was instrumental in shaping his son’s golf game, was 74 when he died of prostate cancer.
“My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply,” the then-30-year-old Woods post on his Web site (via People) in 2006.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Woods added that his break-up on Sunday with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn also is affecting his mental state.
“Obviously with what happened Sunday, it just adds to it,” Woods said without mentioning Vonn by name.
Woods and Vonn began dating announced in March 2013 and became increasingly serious, with Vonn developing bonds with Woods’ kids.
“It’s a relationship that has endured the multiple injuries and rehabs that each has had. Last month, Vonn spoke of how nice it was to have a partner to rehab with.”
Most recently, Vonn was seen at Woods’s side at the Masters, which Woods entered after taking a two-month break from the professional circuit. Woods withdrew from Torrey Pines on Feb. 5 citing a back injury, and on Feb. 11, Woods began his leave of absence, which he used to shore up his game.
Woods said on Tuesday that despite whatever’s going on off the course, he’ll be using his time wisely before Thursday.
“I got two days to get ready for Thursday, plus a late tee time helps,” he said.
Woods is grouped with past TPC Sawgrass champions Martin Kaymer, who won last year, and Adam Scott, who won in 2004. They are set to tee off in the first round on Thursday at 1:49 p.m. EDT. The group’s second-round tee-off is set for 8:39 a.m. EDT on Friday.
Woods is a two-time Players champion, winning in 2001 and 2013. If he wins the upcoming tournament at TPC Sawgrass, he’ll become the first golfer to win three Players titles at the course.