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.
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  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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    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?

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    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.