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Concerned Woods to miss Wachovia Championship

By Staff
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LOS ANGELES, Apr 30 (Reuters) As expected, world number one Tiger Woods will miss next week's Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina to spend more time with his ailing father.

Woods has played the Wachovia event the last two years but said earlier this month he was likely to take an extended break from the PGA Tour and may not play again until the US Open in June.

The deadline for the May 4-7 Wachovia Championship entries was Friday, and the game's leading player was a notable absentee once the list was confirmed.

American Woods, who has not played competitively since tying for third at the US Masters three weeks ago, has had a lot on his mind this year.

While driven to add to his career haul of 10 major titles, his thoughts have never strayed far from his 74-year-old father Earl, who has been battling prostate cancer since 1998.

His father's condition has deteriorated since the end of last year and Woods junior skipped the final practice day for the Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida in March to visit his father in California.

At the time, he said he would also consider missing the Masters, the first major of the year.

CADDIE'S WEDDING Last week, Woods was in New Zealand for the wedding of his caddie Steve Williams. Once again, his father was uppermost in his mind.

''It's kinda up in the air with the situation back home, so I don't know what's going to happen,'' Woods told reporters in Auckland, where it was announced he would race in a celebrity stockcar race for his caddie's charitable foundation.

''I'm taking time off. I'm here for this event and for Steve, and to enjoy time off and be with my father, so I won't play for a while,'' he added.

''My father is hanging in there, the guy is an absolute fighter.'' Woods, who won a 12-lap race on a dirt track in Huntly and also went bungee jumping while in New Zealand, hosts his annual Tiger Jam fundraiser in Las Vegas yesterday when British rock star Sting will perform.

He will then have until next Friday to decide whether he will play in the May 11-14 Byron Nelson Championship in Texas, another event that usually features on his PGA Tour schedule.

Woods will seek his 11th major title at the US Open, to be played at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York from June 15-18.

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