Jason Day's Masters campaign is in serious doubt after he withdrew mid-round from the World Golf Championships-Match Play, revealing his mother faces surgery for lung cancer this week.
The Australian world number three called off his title defence in Austin, Texas, after just six holes of his first match against Pat Perez, tearfully explaining that it was impossible to focus on golf and he wanted only to be with his ailing mum Dening.
"My mum has lung cancer. She had all the tests done in Australia and the doc said she was terminal and only had 12 months to live at the start of the year. The diagnosis is much better being over here," said Day.
"She's going in for surgery this Friday and it's really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now because of what she's going through."
Day, 29, revealed his mother had joined him and his family in Columbus, Ohio, recently and they had taken heart from a more positive diagnosis from doctors since.
He acknowledged the emotional stress had affected his on-course results this year - he lost the world No.1 ranking he held for 47 consecutive weeks to Dustin Johnson in February and his lacklustre results include a best finish of fifth.
"It's been really hard to play golf lately, this year. It's been very, very emotional," Day said.
"So I'm going to try to be back there with my mum for surgery and make sure everything goes right with her."
Day's campaign for the title he covets most, the Masters,, is now up in the air as the year's first major at Augusta National starts in just two weeks, although his manager Bud Martin said he "hopes" to play.
"The Masters ... I know it's something that he wants to do but she (Dening) comes first," said Martin.
Queenslander Day lost his father Alvyn to stomach cancer when he was 12.
At that point that Dening sold the family home and moved back from Rockhampton to Beaudesert so her son could attend Kooralbyn International School, where he got his start in golf and met career-long coach, caddie and mentor Col Swatton.
"I've already gone through it once with my dad. And I know how it feels," Day said.
"And it's hard enough to see another one go through it, as well.
"I just need some time away with her to make sure that everything goes well.
"I'm going to do my best and try and be there the best I can for her because she is the reason that I'm playing golf today.
"You know family's first and it's just -- it's just a hard time.
"I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for her, and we can get this behind us and she can live a long, long life."
Martin confrimed that since Dening arrived in Ohio last week further tests had provided more positive results than the initial diagnosis in Australia.
"They basically told her it was terminal and she had 12 months to live, so he brought her over here to be tested and have mutliple doctors looking at her," Martin said.
"The prognosis was more positive and they (doctors) are going to do surgery on Friday.
"Doctors') expectations are, fingers crossed, that it's something that's manageable, whether that's with or without chemotherapy."