Golfers at Old Hangout Remember Tiger and Father

By Associated PressMay 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
CYPRESS, Calif. -- Paul Traughber remembers the day a kid named Tiger Woods showed up to play in an 18-and-under golf tournament.
 
The tournament scout had invited the scrawny 14-year-old to participate in the annual event after watching him play on a school team. 'You're going to remember this kid because he's named after an animal,' Traughber recalls the scout saying.
 
Woods took fourth place. The next year, he won. The third year, his father, Earl Woods, said he wouldn't be playing again.
 
'I went to his house to ask why and Earl said, 'You know, Tiger's on a career path. He can't do any better than he's already done -- he's already won,'' Traughber recalled. 'He didn't want any setbacks for Tiger.'
 
Players on the golf courses where a young Tiger Woods grew up remembered the star's father above all for his kind but firm discipline as his son rose to stardom. Earl Woods died Wednesday at his Cypress home after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer. He was 74.
 
'Earl always did a great job with that kid in molding his mind and personality,' said Michael Keith, a PGA apprentice at the Dad Miller Golf Course where Tiger played in high school. 'That's all Earl ever did. I think they had a great relationship. His dad was his whole life.'
 
Many fellow golfers recalled watching Tiger putt ball after ball with his father on the greens, starting at the age of 5. The pair kept to themselves, they said, but father and son were always polite -- even after Tiger became famous.
 
Tiger often hit balls on the local courses for hours as a teenager, buying $2 buckets of golf balls with quarters he won from other players during putting games. His father, however, wouldn't let him play until he'd finished his homework.
 
'I've got a lot of respect for him the way Tiger's come out,' said Bill Huss, a 64-year-old PGA pro who's played at the Dad Miller course for 22 years. 'The old man would get on him a little bit and keep him straight.'
 
One of Tiger's first coaches, John Anselmo, said some people questioned the way Earl Woods handled his son. Anselmo, who coached Tiger from age 10 to 20, said the elder Woods was 'like a psychiatrist' who could keep everything about his son, including his emotions, in check.
 
'He was a human being,' Anselmo, now 85, said. 'There was a lot of talk about him, but he was right about everything he said. I agreed with him, because I could see the future of this young man (Tiger).'
 
Keith said that when Tiger played at Dad Miller, crowds of reporters would gather. The course was finally forced to put up signs that read 'Spectators are restricted to paved and concrete areas adjacent to clubhouse.' One still hangs above the counter in the pro shop.
 
Down the road, at the Navy Golf Course, players said they seldom saw Tiger, but often played with his father. The course, which is attached to the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, is restricted to military veterans.
 
'We were so impressed with how well he did with his son. We asked him how he did it,' said Art Valenzuela, 73, of Garden Grove. 'He told us how Tiger used to come over that fence over there as a kid and pretend he was in the Masters.'
 
Another golfer, Tom Wright, said he recalled seeing Tiger and his father practicing at a 3-hole course in Long Beach in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It wasn't until years later, when Tiger was famous, that he realized who they were.
 
'Earl was pretty pointed in his comments' even at Tiger's young age, Wright recalled. 'He was an excellent teacher. He saw things in his swing that you're not liable to see even if you had a camera pointed at him.'
 
Related Links:
  • Earl Woods Succumbs to Cancer at 74
  • Lerner's Journal: Earl's Legacy is His Son
  • Statement From Tiger Woods
  • PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem statement
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

    Getty Images

    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

    Getty Images

    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x