'Golf has never been my top priority and it never will be,' Woods said while visiting the Anaheim golf course Saturday where construction begins next month on the Tiger Woods Learning Center.
'I was very fortunate to have teachers in my life that took the time to help me, and I want to build something that will give these kids the same opportunities,' he said.
The center will be free to youths 8-17 and include a 35,000-square-foot education complex that offers math, language arts and science tutoring next to a site for golf instruction. It's being built on the H.G. 'Dad' Miller Golf Course, where Woods played as a student athlete at Anaheim's Western High School in the early 1990s.
About 3,500 students are expected to enroll in the center's programs each year, said Katherine Bihr, the center's executive director. It's scheduled to open in spring 2005.
On Saturday, Woods took target practice before hundreds of kids and parents while touting the new center.
He gestured to a metal sign 75 yards down the range, then swung a sand wedge. The crowd erupted in cheers when the ball hit the sign.
'Not bad, huh?' Woods said.