Tiger Woods chooses to emphasize education not golf
And he wasnt even holding a golf club.
Next door to the public course where he played more golf than he can remember, a few miles from the middle-class home where Woods grew up in Southern California, he cut the ribbon three years ago on his $25 million Tiger Woods Learning Center.
There is a driving range behind the 35,000-square-foot building, and now about 100 kids show up each Saturday for a golf clinic.
Woods, however, remains more interested in what goes on inside the center.
I want kids to be able to have a better life because of their brain and their intelligence and their ability to use that to help others, Woods said. And if they want to play golf, then sure, we have the means to help them through our foundation. But Id much rather see them become leaders of tomorrow than see kids just hit a high draw and a high fade.
Woods is expected to top $1 billion in career income sometime this year. He could probably help plenty of aspiring pros if thats what Woods thought was important.
Instead, his charitable work is devoted to education.
I reach out each and every day with my foundation, Woods said. We dont focus on golf, because thats not the sole purpose in life.
Greg McLaughlin, the president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said it has contributed about $35 million to communities across the country through grants and scholarships since its inception in 1996.
The Tiger Woods Learning Center already has served 25,000 youngsters in three years.
Woods foundation initially concentrated on junior golf clinics as a way to teach kids to work hard and dream big. Woods himself went to Oklahoma City one month, Denver the next, Chicago, Philadelphia. He would walk down the practice range, sometimes on public courses in the urban part of town, showing kids how to grip the club and celebrating the good shots.
Even then, Woods felt something was missing.
You feel like a three-ring circus, Woods once said. Here today, gone tomorrow, on to the next city.
Perhaps he knew that he could never give them what Woods had as a kid ' a desire to play, a place to play, supportive parents.
Tiger Woods being on tour was absolutely wonderful, said Pepper Peete, director of The First Tee in Jacksonville whose husband, Calvin Peete, won more PGA Tour events (12) than any black player until Woods came along.
But keep in mind that Tiger had someone around him that kept him driven and focused, she said. It was just like an Olympic gymnast or a figure skater. He was very blessed and fortunate he had that person, and that he loved golf.
If not for an Army buddy taking Earl Woods to Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn, he might not have ever taught his son to play. Earl Woods said he was hooked the first time he set foot on a golf course and passed that on to his son.
I got lucky that my dad was addicted to the game, Woods said. Too, he had access to the game. Thats not easy to do right now.
Despite his emphasis on education, Woods still includes golf as part of the foundation and the learning center.
Golf still defines him.
Any student enrolled at the Tiger Woods Learning Center is taught the basics of golf. Clinics are held twice a month. His foundation has a national team that was awarded 18 exemptions to the Junior World Championships, where Woods cut his teeth in golf.
My dad always thought it was important to play kids from around the world, Woods said. Thats when I truly understood the game is played differently around the world. These kids (from his foundation) are not exposed to that. A lot of these kids are not country club kids. They would never compete on a world stage, so we give them that experience.
The chief criteria for making his national team is not a stroke average, rather a 3.2 GPA and 40 hours of community service.
Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win
Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.
He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.
Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:
Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'
Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.
Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.
Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.
"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.
The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.
Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.
"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."
McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open
When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.
Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.
Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.
While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.
Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai
Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.
Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."
But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.
With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.
Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.
The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.
"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."