Tigers Masters Memories About Father

By Associated PressApril 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods has memories at the Masters that have nothing to do with green jackets, blooming azaleas or spectacular chip-ins.
 
They're memories of hugs, tears, evenings spent together. Memories of a few well chosen words of support.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods takes in one final practice round Wednesday.
He talks about them only grudgingly because he would prefer they remain private. The questions come anyway because, after all, he is Tiger Woods.
 
His father is home in California, his body ravaged by cancer. Earl Woods is the toughest man his son knows, but even the tough old Green Beret isn't going to win this one.
 
Woods won't discuss the details. Would rather not talk about it publicly at all, if given the preference.
 
It's a family matter, and family matters most.
 
'Everyone who has had a family member or lived that long, you're going to deal with it sometime,' Woods said Tuesday. 'Unfortunately, it's our time right now.'
 
The timing couldn't be worse. Not because Woods is favored to win a fifth Masters, but because of what the annual spring week in Augusta has always meant to both father and his famous son.
 
This is where Tiger romped to his first major win as a 21-year-old, then tearfully embraced the man who helped make it possible as he walked off the 18th green. Earl Woods wasn't supposed to be here that year, wasn't supposed to be anywhere after barely making it through a difficult heart bypass surgery before the tournament.
 
He came, though, and gave his son a putting lesson that helped him win by 12 shots in a victory that was historic for far more than just the winning margin.
 
Earl Woods came last year, too, sharing time with his son and his son's new bride even though he was too ill to make it to the course. Woods won a playoff with Chris DiMarco, then rushed home to share it with his dad.
 
'Every year that I've been lucky enough to win this tournament, my dad's been there to give me a big hug. And today, he wasn't there,' Woods said then, his voice cracking and his eyes filling with tears. 'I can't wait to get home and see him, and give him a big bear hug.'
 
Earl Woods got that hug. He'll have to wait a little longer for another.
 
For the first time since Woods first played here as an amateur, his father won't be in Augusta. He was too ill to travel, so ill that Woods left after a practice round at the Player's Championship last month and flew to California to spend a few hours with him.
 
Woods surprised his father that day, who greeted his son by saying 'What the hell are you doing here?'
 
To Tiger, that was a good sign. It meant his father hadn't given up.
 
Earl Woods would have wanted his son to stay in Florida and focus on the task at hand. This was the man who taught Tiger concentration, gave him his competitiveness as he raised him from his high chair with a golf club in his hand.
 
This was the man who devoted his life to making his son the best.
 
'I knew Tiger was special the day he was born,' Earl Woods said a few years ago.
 
Earl Woods raised the greatest player in the game. Perhaps more important, he raised a son who loves him deeply.
 
The bond between father and son was evident in the few glimpses allowed the public. It runs a lot deeper in private, which makes it these times even harder.
 
'It's always been family first,' Woods said. 'For me, it's awfully tough. It's hard for my mom as well and everyone who knows my father.'
 
Woods played poorly at the Player's Championship, and sprayed the ball around in a practice round Tuesday. But it's not in his nature to use the distraction of his father's illness as an excuse, and he has won three times this year with the same things weighing on his mind.
 
He'll tee off Thursday as the favorite to win his fifth Masters in 10 tries as a professional. At this rate, Woods going to fulfill the prophecy of Jack Nicklaus, who predicted at the time of Tiger's first win that Woods would win more green jackets than the 10 that he and Arnold Palmer had combined.
 
Woods is already the greatest player of his time. In a few more years he'll likely be recognized as the greatest player ever.
 
But Woods has become more than just the dominant player his father raised him to be. He's a cultural icon, a player who transcends the game and a billionaire in the making.
 
Woods has a beautiful wife, and a beautiful life. His yacht cost $22 million, and his new Florida home even more.
 
Everything is done on his terms, from the way he prepares for majors to the way he jealously guards his private life. His recent '60 Minutes' profile revealed nothing, yet was so fawning it looked more like a Nike infomercial than a television feature.
 
But even Woods can't control everything.
 
He can't stop the hurt he feels away from the course. He can't stop the cancer that will someday take his father from him.
 
Earl Woods is only human.
 
So, it turns out, is his son.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.