Earl Woods, father of Tiger

Earl Woods, father of Tiger

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Earl Woods introduced his son to golf by swinging a club as the toddler watched from a high chair in their garage.

But the training of Tiger Woods went beyond a game. More than a great golfer, Woods wanted a good son.He made sure Tiger’s concentration was so sharp that nothing would bother him.He taught him to be responsible, making him finish his homework before they could practise and play on public courses in Southern California.He gave him freedom to develop his own passion for the game, and later room to grow into an adult.All the while, he watched Tiger Woods evolve into the dominant player of his time.Woods, the architect and driving force behind his son’s phenomenal career on and off the golf course, died on Wednesday of cancer.He was 74.”My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply,” Tiger Woods said on his Web site.”I’m overwhelmed when I think of all of the great things he accomplished in his life.He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and I’m honoured to continue his legacy of sharing and caring.”A habitual smoker who had heart bypass surgery in 1986, Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and was treated with radiation.But the cancer returned in 2004 and spread throughout his body.Last month, he was too frail to travel to the Masters.The last tournament Woods attended was the Target World Challenge in December 2004, when his son rallied to win and then donated US$1,25 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation that his father helped him establish.The Tiger Woods Learning Centre, another vision inspired by his father, opened in February.”My greatest satisfaction is that he’s a good person,” Earl Woods once said.Tiger decided not to play in the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte.Two of his best friends on tour, Mark O’Meara and John Cook, withdrew from the tournament and flew to California to be with him.”It’s not often that a father of an athlete commands so much respect and attention,” Paul Azinger said.Jack Nicklaus said he had long “admired and related to the close bond” shared by Earl and Tiger.”My father was my best friend, my mentor and perhaps my greatest support system,” Nicklaus said.”Earl was all of that to Tiger.”Earl Woods was more than a golf dad, more than a zealous father who lived vicariously through his son’s achievements.He had played catcher for Kansas State, the first black to play baseball in the Big Eight Conference, and he had been a Green Beret for two tours in Vietnam.But he felt his true purpose was to train Tiger, and he watched his son become the youngest player to capture the career Grand Slam and become one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.”I knew Tiger was special the day he was born,” Woods said in a May 2000 interview with The Associated Press.His son was on the ‘Mike Douglas Show’ at age 2, played exhibitions with Sam Snead and Nicklaus, and his television appeal was solely responsible for quantum gains in PGA Tour prize money.Even so, Woods said he never intended to create a champion golfer.”I make it very, very clear that my purpose in raising Tiger was not to raise a golfer.I wanted to raise a good person,” Woods told Golf Digest magazine about his book, ‘Training a Tiger: A Father’s Guide to Raising a Winner in Both Golf and Life’.In the foreword to his father’s book, Woods said: “In retrospect, golf for me was an apparent attempt to emulate the person I looked up to more than anyone: my father.He was instrumental in helping me develop the drive to achieve, but his role – as well as my mother’s – was one of support and guidance, not interference.”Along with three straight US Junior and US Amateur titles – a record that might not be broken – Woods already has won 48 times and 10 majors in his first 10 years on the PGA Tour.Foremost for Earl Woods, however, was raising a son who could influence life beyond golf.Woods was black and his wife, Kultida, whom he met during one of his tours to Vietnam, was Thai and Chinese.Tiger Woods won twice in his first seven PGA Tour events after turning pro in 1996 at age 20 and was chosen Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.Woods predicted greatness for Tiger on and off the course, telling the magazine his son “will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.””He’s the bridge between the East and the West,” the father said.”There is no limit because he has the guidance.I don’t know yet exactly what form this will take.But he is the Chosen One.He’ll have the power to impact nations.Not people.Nations.The world is just getting a taste of his power.”Perhaps the lasting image of Earl Woods came the next spring, at the 1997 Masters, when he stepped onto the 18th green and wrapped his arms around a 21-year-old son who shattered records at Augusta National, a watershed victory that changed the appeal of golf and sent him to the greatness his father had always predicted.Earl Dennison Woods was born March 5 1932, in Manhattan, Kansas, the youngest of six children.His parents died by the time he was 13.His father wanted him to play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, and his mother stressed education.Woods wound up going to Kansas State, graduating in 1953 with a degree in sociology.Woods did two tours during the Vietnam War as a member of the US Army Special Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.It was his second tour that shaped the latter part of his life.He met Kultida Punsawad, who was working as a receptionist in Thailand, and married her in 1969.He fought alongside Lt Col Nguyen T Phong of the South Vietnamese army, a friend he nicknamed ‘Tiger’ because of his courage and bravery.Earl Woods promised Tiger Phong that he would name a son after him.Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods was born December 30 1975.Earl Woods moved to Cypress, California – to the house where he died – and set up a makeshift practice range in the garage with a mat and a net, placing his son in a high chair as he practised.The education went beyond swinging a club.”I tried to break him down mentally, tried to intimidate him verbally, by saying, ‘Water on the right, OB on the left,’ just before his downswing,” Woods once said in an AP interview.”He would look at me with the most evil look, but he wasn’t permitted to say anything.That’s the frustration.He couldn’t say a word, but he always had an escape word.He never used it.”One day I did all my tricks, and he looked at me and smiled,” Woods said.”At the end of the round, I told him, ‘Tiger, you’ve completed the training.’ And I made him a promise.’You’ll never run into another person as mentally tough as you.’ “He hasn’t.And he won’t.”- Nampa-APMore than a great golfer, Woods wanted a good son.He made sure Tiger’s concentration was so sharp that nothing would bother him.He taught him to be responsible, making him finish his homework before they could practise and play on public courses in Southern California.He gave him freedom to develop his own passion for the game, and later room to grow into an adult.All the while, he watched Tiger Woods evolve into the dominant player of his time.Woods, the architect and driving force behind his son’s phenomenal career on and off the golf course, died on Wednesday of cancer.He was 74.”My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply,” Tiger Woods said on his Web site.”I’m overwhelmed when I think of all of the great things he accomplished in his life.He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and I’m honoured to continue his legacy of sharing and caring.”A habitual smoker who had heart bypass surgery in 1986, Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and was treated with radiation.But the cancer returned in 2004 and spread throughout his body.Last month, he was too frail to travel to the Masters.The last tournament Woods attended was the Target World Challenge in December 2004, when his son rallied to win and then donated US$1,25 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation that his father helped him establish.The Tiger Woods Learning Centre, another vision inspired by his father, opened in February.”My greatest satisfaction is that he’s a good person,” Earl Woods once said.Tiger decided not to play in the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte.Two of his best friends on tour, Mark O’Meara and John Cook, withdrew from the tournament and flew to California to be with him.”It’s not often that a father of an athlete commands so much respect and attention,” Paul Azinger said.Jack Nicklaus said he had long “admired and related to the close bond” shared by Earl and Tiger.”My father was my best friend, my mentor and perhaps my greatest support system,” Nicklaus said.”Earl was all of that to Tiger.”Earl Woods was more than a golf dad, more than a zealous father who lived vicariously through his son’s achievements.He had played catcher for Kansas State, the first black to play baseball in the Big Eight Conference, and he had been a Green Beret for two tours in Vietnam.But he felt his true purpose was to train Tiger, and he watched his son become the youngest player to capture the career Grand Slam and become one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.”I knew Tiger was special the day he was born,” Woods said in a May 2000 interview with The Associated Press.His son was on the ‘Mike Douglas Show’ at age 2, played exhibitions with Sam Snead and Nicklaus, and his television appeal was solely responsible for quantum gains in PGA Tour prize money.Even so, Woods said he never intended to create a champion golfer.”I make it very, very clear that my purpose in raising Tiger was not to raise a golfer.I wanted to raise a good person,” Woods told Golf Digest magazine about his book, ‘Training a Tiger: A Father’s Guide to Raising a Winner in Both Golf and Life’.In the foreword to his father’s book, Woods said: “In retrospect, golf for me was an apparent attempt to emulate the person I looked up to more than anyone: my father.He was instrumental in helping me develop the drive to achieve, but his role – as well as my mother’s – was one of support and guidance, not interference.”Along with three straight US Junior and US Amateur titles – a record that might not be broken – Woods already has won 48 times and 10 majors in his first 10 years on the PGA Tour.Foremost for Earl Woods, however, was raising a son who could influence life beyond golf.Woods was black and his wife, Kultida, whom he met during one of his tours to Vietnam, was Thai and Chinese.Tiger Woods won twice in his first seven PGA Tour events after turning pro in 1996 at age 20 and was chosen Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.Woods predicted greatness for Tiger on and off the course, telling the magazine his son “will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.””He’s the bridge between the East and the West,” the father said.”There is no limit because he has the guidance.I don’t know yet exactly what form this will take.But he is the Chosen One.He’ll have the power to impact nations.Not people.Nations.The world is just getting a taste of his power.”Perhaps the lasting image of Earl Woods came the next spring, at the 1997 Masters, when he stepped onto the 18th green and wrapped his arms around a 21-year-old son who shattered records at Augusta National, a watershed victory that changed the appeal of golf and sent him to the greatness his father had always predicted.Earl Dennison Woods was born March 5 1932, in Manhattan, Kansas, the youngest of six children.His parents died by the time he was 13.His father wanted him to play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, and his mother stressed education.Woods wound up going to Kansas State, graduating in 1953 with a degree in sociology.Woods did two tours during the Vietnam War as a member of the US Army Special Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.It was his second tour that shaped the latter part of his life.He met Kultida Punsawad, who was working as a receptionist in Thailand, and married her in 1969.He fought alongside Lt Col Nguyen T Phong of the South Vietnamese army, a friend he nicknamed ‘Tiger’ because of his courage and bravery.Earl Woods promised Tiger Phong that he would name a son after him.Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods was born December 30 1975.Earl Woods moved to Cypress, California – to the house where he died – and set up a makeshift practice range in the garage with a mat and a net, placing his son in a high chair as he practised.The education went beyond swinging a club.”I tried to break him down mentally, tried to intimidate him verbally, by saying, ‘Water on the right, OB on the left,’ just before his downswing,” Woods once said in an AP interview.”He would look at me with the most evil look, but he wasn’t permitted to say anything.That’s the frustration.He couldn’t say a word, but he always had an escape word.He never used it.”One day I did all my tricks, and he looked at me and smiled,” Woods said.”At the end of the round, I told him, ‘Tiger, you’ve completed the training.’ And I made him a promise.’You’ll never run into another person as mentally tough as you.’ “He hasn’t.And he won’t.”- Nampa-AP

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