Tigers niece a freshman at Wake Forest


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. ' When Cheyenne Woods steps up to the tee, its obvious golf is in her DNA. Shes got the firm grip and a fluid swing, not to mention the almond-shaped eyes and wide smile of her uncle Tiger.
With her Wake Forest golf coach and teammates watching at a recent practice, the pressure was on the teams lone freshman. She wasnt too happy with a tee shot that landed near a tree, but pumped the next through some branches, over sand traps and onto the green.
My mom and I would go to the park every night and hit balls because she didnt know what a driving range was, Woods said. Thats when I fell in love with it.
Like Tiger, Woods got her first set of clubs as a youngster from the late Earl Woods Sr., her grandfather and Tigers father. He taught her how to swing, as he had years earlier with his now famous son, during spring break visits to his California home. He visited her home in Phoenix to watch her play events when she was younger.
She did have a special relationship with her grandfather, said Susan Woods, Cheyennes mother, who divorced Earl Woods Jr., Tigers half-brother, when their daughter was 2.
Now the niece of the worlds best golfer is playing competitively for the Demon Deacons, ranked 12th in the NCAA by Golfweek. Wooed by several universities, including Tulane and Tennessee, Woods said she chose Wake Forest because of its academics and golf program.
In her first tournament, the Duramed NCAA Fall Preview in Maryland, Woods and the Demon Deacons finished ninth in a 15-team field. Her three-round score of 225 was good for a tie for 26th out of 75 players.
Shes going to have an impact on the team right away, coach Dianne Dailey said.
Woods has played in charity matches with Tiger in support of his foundation and, though she doesnt speak with her uncle on a regular basis, said he inspires her.
Just seeing him on TV and knowing that someone in my family is succeeding, its just really motivating, she said.
So far, Woods said she hasnt felt extra pressure because of her last name. She prepares for matches the same way she did while playing high school golf at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, tuning her iPod to Usher to keep her mind level. She grew accustomed at Xavier to cameras at her matches and television interviews when she was finished.
Although 2,000 miles away from her Arizona home, she said she has been recognized as Tigers niece when she introduces herself to people on campus and admits shes had quite a few unfamiliar friend requests on her Facebook and MySpace pages. But she said shes just trying to maintain a normal life.
They dont make a big deal about it here, she said. But when I was in high school they did.
After spending her first week in college battling strep throat, Woods is still adjusting to the rigors of a full course load, daily athletic conditioning and practice ' and not seeing her mom every day. She hasnt picked a major yet, though shes leaning toward psychology. Shes still trying to figure out how to decorate her dorm room and what pictures shell put up.
I knew it was going to be kind of hard managing my time, getting used to college life and being busy with golf, Woods said. So thats what Ive expected.
Susan Woods said playing college golf will give Cheyenne opportunities to mature and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being on a team. Eventually, Cheyenne wants to play professionally.
Im looking forward to the travel and being on a collegiate team, and playing in the college-level tournaments ' meeting new people, making new friends, Woods said. Its kinda just like starting new.