Tiger Proud of Woods Foundations Progress

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2005, 5:00 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The driving range where Tiger Woods warmed up before playing 9-hole matches in high school is now a pad of dirt, the start of something he believes will be more significant than his career Grand Slam.
He established the Tiger Woods Foundation when he turned pro in 1996, with hopes of empowering kids through programs that supported education, health and welfare.
But the mission statement often got lost amid the hype over his achievements.
Woods has held junior golf clinics, where he dazzled kids with an array of shots. The foundation has a golf tournament to raise money -- the Target World Challenge -- but all anyone remembers is the world-class field of 16 players at Sherwood Country Club.
Woods also stages an annual fund-raising concert in Las Vegas (Tiger Jam), with headliners like Prince, Jessica Alba and Ray Romano.
But what was the foundation about?
'We needed something physically tangible,' Woods said. 'And we came up with the learning center.'
Provided the weather cooperates, the Tiger Woods Learning Center is expected to open this fall on the former driving range at H.G. 'Dad' Miller Golf Course. It will be a 35,000-square-foot building on 14 acres, with seven classrooms, a computer lab and a 250-seat auditorium.
Golf is not too far away.
The project involves rerouting the back nine at Dad Miller and building a new driving range. Outside the learning center will be a large practice area, with an 18-hole putting course at the back end of the property.
Just don't get the idea this will be the West Coast version of the David Leadbetter Academy.
'This is not about golf,' Woods said. 'If they so choose, they can hit balls, and we'll have an instructor there. But that's not the main purpose. We're not here to produce great golfers. We're trying to produce great citizens.'
Woods thinks he can make a more lasting impression through his foundation than anything he does inside the ropes, hard to imagine since his popularity with kids is a result of his performance -- the youngest Masters champion at age 21, the career Grand Slam at 24, and the only player to hold all four professional majors at the same time.
'Once I quit golf, I'm going to devote myself to the foundation,' he said. 'I can last a lot longer doing that than playing golf. Look at it this way. Do you look at Arthur Ashe as a pioneer in tennis, or an amazing humanitarian? It's hard to distinguish between the two. He had such a big impact on the humanitarian level that it superseded what he did on the tennis court. Golf gives me a broader platform because our sport is so global.'
It starts at home, on a piece of land next to a public golf course he played as a kid.
Woods has hired Katherine Bihr, a former middle school principal, as executive director to develop the curriculum.
The learning center will have a day program for grades 4-6 that lasts four weeks, and an after-school program for grades 7-12 that can last up to three months. These kids primarily will come from Orange County. It also will have summer camps for children across the country.
'This is Tiger's project. It was his idea,' said Earl Woods, his father and chairman of the foundation. 'He gave the instructions to have it done, he gave the parameters of how he wanted it. He wants this to be a pilot project for similar facilities across the country.'
The idea grew out of the 'Start Something' program Woods' father created, which was launched in a partnership with Target Stores five years ago to help children ages 8-17 identify their goals and figure out how to achieve them. It already has enrolled 2 million kids from schools and youth programs in all 50 states.
'The best thing we've done so far is the 'Start Something' program, and we wanted to build upon that idea,' Woods said. 'I've done clinics all across the country, but you feel like you're in a three-ring circus -- here today, gone tomorrow. This is going to last longer than any clinic I do. It's something they can take away the rest of their lives. And that's more than I can teach them by hitting any shot.'
The relationship between Woods and Target is unlike more prominent sponsors, such as Nike or Buick. He does not wear or carry the Minneapolis-based chain's logo, nor is he directly paid an endorsement fee from Target.
'What we do with Target has nothing to do with me shooting low scores,' Woods said.
Their partnership began in 1999 with the Target House in Memphis, Tenn., a home for parents and families of children being treated for cancer at St. Jude's. From that came the 'Start Something' program, and Target became title sponsor of Woods' golf tournament in 2002.
'We have a shared commitment to help young people, and it has blossomed in such an amazing way,' said Laysha Ward, vice president of community relations at Target. 'Tiger has been a dynamite partner. He's been willing to lend his time, and his inspiration is critical.'
Woods' foundation works exclusively with children.
Even when it donated $100,000 to tsunami relief efforts in Asia, officials made sure the money went to children who had been orphaned by the catastrophe, or programs that provided foster care and education for children in hospitals throughout Thailand.
'Some people go down the path of cancer research, some go down the path of whatever,' Woods said. 'My whole deal is education. Just look at how I grew up. My parents stressed education over everything else. If I didn't do my homework, I couldn't practice. If I didn't keep my grades up, I couldn't play in tournaments.
'It was natural for me to gravitate toward that.'
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.