Statue of Earl and Tiger Unveiled at Learning Center
Behind him was a bronze of Woods wrapping his arm around the shoulder of his late father, Earl Woods, the backbone of a foundation that led to a 35,000-square-foot educational center next to the golf course where they grew up. The center has been open just under two years and already has reached more than 16,000 kids.
Woods and his mother, Kultida, posed with 7-month-old daughter Sam. As photographers moved into position, Sam leaned back in her grandmother's arms and stared up at her father, bringing a wide smile from the world's No. 1 golfer.
'Ever since the day he passed, I have yet to go a day without thinking of my dad,' said Woods, whose father died in May 2006. 'Now that I've had Sam, it's amazing how I keep reflecting on things he taught me. I can't wait to pass that on. That's one reason I worked so hard on my foundation to expand this. He was all about helping others.'
The 8-foot bronze was designed by Elliot and Ivan Schwartz of Studio EIS, and it will remain in the lobby of the learning center.
Earl Woods was dying of cancer and could not be there when former President Clinton joined Woods at the grand opening of the learning center in February 2006. Woods said his father only saw the $25 million center once, a few months earlier during the holidays.
That night at their home in nearby Cypress, he said his father thanked him for allowing him to see the center.
'I told him, 'Thank me? You were the inspiration for it. Without you and your guidance, I would have never gone down this path,'' Woods said. 'I feel, and my mother feels, there's no better way to honor what he's done than to create a statue like this.'
Woods said the statue symbolizes the support that led to so much success -- 61 victories on the PGA TOUR going into the 2008 season, along with 13 majors and the career Grand Slam twice over.
'It brings back my childhood, what he's meant to me in my life, not only from a golf standpoint,' Woods said. 'He was always there. That's basically what it symbolizes. He always had my back. If I failed, I could always come home to love.'
Woods also announced an online contest through the Tiger Woods Foundation for children around the world to share what he called their 'Fist Pump Moment' on video and e-mail.
The entries submitted to www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org will be voted on by web site visitors, with prizes going to the highest-ranked submissions. Prizes will include iPods, Tiger Woods '08 EA Video Games and gift cards.
Woods made the fist pump popular, starting with his three straight U.S. Amateur titles, the final putt at Augusta National in 1997 for a record-setting victory that made him the youngest Masters champion, and countless occasions throughout his career.
Asked about his first 'fist pump moment,' Woods recalled vividly details of a round from 21 years ago, the first time he beat his father.
He was an 11-year-old playing with his father at Navy Golf Course, when Earl Woods was playing off a 1 handicap. Woods said he birdied the 16th hole to get back to even par for the round, tied with his father. Both parred the 17th.
'Eighteen is a par 5, and we both got on in regulation,' Woods said. 'He missed a 20-footer, and I made a 15-footer, uphill, left-to-right. It came out of me. That was my first fist pump. I started upper-cutting the air. It was the greatest thing I ever did in my life, beating my dad. I remember going to the 19th hole to celebrate and to rub it in.'
Woods said he would tie the 'Fist Pump Challenge' into the Earls Woods Scholarship program, offering children around Washington, D.C., and Orange County, Calif., an opportunity to compete for scholarship money through the online contest.
Three children spoke at a news conference to share their moments -- Navdeep Kaur winning a science contest, Cecilia Cardenas getting accepted to a summer program at the University of Wisconsin, Jon Waters reaching a state championship game in basketball.
'There are kids around the country and around the world having these little moments they can celebrate,' Woods said. 'I would like to have them share that with all of us, so they can communicate their experiences with each other. That's what my father would instill in them -- keep pushing forward, keep trying to make a difference.
'I know he's not here to experience this, but he embodies everything about this foundation. That's why we're celebrating this moment, for all he's done to help others and inspire kids to chase and accomplish their goals.'
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.