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Thread: R.I.P. Earl Woods

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    R.I.P. Earl Woods

    Earl Woods, the father of Tiger Woods, has passed away
    after a bout with prostate cancer. Mr. Woods, a former
    soldier, was instrumental in the development of Tiger as
    the best golfer of his generation. I hope that Tiger and
    the rest of his family accept my condolences.

    - Chuck Johnston

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    Re: R.I.P. Earl Woods

    THE PASSING OF EARL WOODS

    Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods, dies at age of 74 after long battle with cancer.

    By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer

    CYPRESS, Calif. Tiger Woods' father has died.
    Earl Woods, who was more determined to raise a good son than a great golfer and became the role model, architect and driving force behind Tiger Woods' phenomenal career, died Wednesday morning at his home. He was 74.

    "My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply," Tiger Woods said on his website. "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 honored to continue his legacy of sharing and caring."

    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 for the first time. His son finished tied for third.

    The last tournament Woods attended was the Target World Challenge in December 2004, when his son rallied to win and then donated $1.25 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation that his father helped him establish.

    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 evolve into the dominant player of his time the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam and 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.

    Woods introduced Tiger to golf by swinging a club as his son watched in a high chair. Tiger appeared on the "Mike Douglas Show" at age 2, played exhibitions with Sam Snead and Jack 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.

    Woods gave his son freedom to develop a love for golf on his own, not letting him play unless his homework was done, making him call his father at work to ask if they could practice. Along with the games they played, Woods taught him to be mentally strong by jingling change in his pockets and warning him of water hazards when his son was in the middle of his swing.

    It all worked.

    Tiger Woods set records that might never be broken by winning three straight U.S. Junior titles, followed by three straight U.S. Amateurs. In only 10 years as a pro, he already was won 48 times on the PGA Tour with 10 major championships, and he set a PGA Tour record by going seven years and 142 consecutive events making the cut.

    In the forward 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."

    PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Woods will be remembered for providing Tiger every opportunity "to become the world's best golfer and an outstanding representative of the game and its values."

    Foremost for Earl Woods 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 named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Woods predicted greatness for Tiger on and off the course, telling the magazine that 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 Woods was born March 5, 1932, in Manhattan, Kan., 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 is sociology.

    Woods did two tours during the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. 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. Woods promised Tiger Phong that he would name a son after him.

    Eldrick "Tiger" Woods was born Dec. 30, 1975.

    Earl Woods moved to Cypress, Calif., 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 practiced.

    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."

    Woods was proud of saying he never left his son with a baby sitter, but his goal was to eventually let Tiger run his own life.

    "I had pulled back, one item at a time," Woods once told the AP. "Instead of going to several tournaments, it was a couple of tournaments, then one tournament. All of a sudden, he was running everything. I stood there and watched it happen. Because that was my job to prepare him to leave."

    Besides his wife and Tiger, Woods is survived by three children from his previous marriage.

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    Re: R.I.P. Earl Woods

    I have always had mixed emotions about Earl Woods. On the one hand, I generally believe myself to be a decent judge of character by looking at how aperson carries themselves, coupled with their words and how they reacte to situations. On that hand, I usually found myself thinking that Earl Woods was overbearing, opinionated and thought very highly of himself and not enough of others.

    On the other hand is what this guy sacrificed for his son. It isn't mentioned in the article Gor posted, but it was almost everything. When he saw Tiger's potential as a golfer he made sure that the kid had every advantage, spending every dime he had to make sure he had all the mentoring, lessons and guidance from the best coaches in the world. When every dime he had wasn't enough, he leveraged himself to almost beyond the point of belief to make sure the kid didn't miss anything that was available to him. He literally risked financial ruin just to make sure his son had every advantage. So even if he came off like an asshole sometimes in interviews and in his conduct, it's clear the guy always put his son first, doing everything possible to ensure Tiger's future and to allow him to maximize his potential. And that deserves a lot of respect.

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    Re: R.I.P. Earl Woods


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    Re: R.I.P. Earl Woods

    It appears that Earl Woods was one tough son-of-a-gun, but
    he and his wife did a great job of raising Tiger Woods in every
    way. Of course, Tiger had to be a special person to not crack
    with such a demanding father, but he went on to be the best
    golfer of his generation by a large margin. Things can turn out
    badly when a father wants to put a kid through the hoops in
    order to make him a top athlete down the road with Todd
    Marinovich being a prime example.

    - Chuck Johnston

  6. #6
    Roberto Aqui
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    Re: R.I.P. Earl Woods

    What Earl did was make golfing fun for the little tyke and then impart life's little lessons as he grew up. I suspect his mother had as much influence if not more there. It helped immensely that Tiger was an only child, but Tiger wouldn't have accomplished squat if he didn't have the talent and the ability to grow up.

    My oldest was a young athletic prodigy that I raised on a bike. He could ride a bike better at age 2 than 75% of the adult population and had unlimited stamina and balance. His little brother was a premie, so by then our trips were more restrictive as I had to cart his brother around. Then the battle-ex ran out, and all of a sudden they were in school and I was having to work my tail off to pay child support and take care of them every afternoon and evening after they got off from school, helping them with their homework, fixing their only balanced meal for the day, and getting them washed up for bed.

    I ended up coaching their flag football and baseball teams, but their mother got them in soccer, by which time any hope of my oldest becoming a bike champion were thoroughly crushed by his mother's meddling in things she was never involved in or consulted with me about and required constant travel to the other side of town in heavy traffic by me, not her.

    He ended up as captain of his lacrosse team in HS which was what he wanted, so I guess it worked out. Another shame though is his brother, who had The Punch, but suffered from seizures as a toddler, so no way I was gonna let him box when he got older. He learned martial arts instead.

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