Whens Tiger Back Bad Question

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Since the passing of Tiger Woods father Earl on Wednesday, more than a few have asked when we might see Tiger again on the PGA TOUR.

Some are members of the media and some are just golf fans. To me, it doesnt matter. And furthermore I dont think the question should be asked or answered ' at least for a little while.

Sure, wed love to get Tiger back out on the PGA TOUR. Sure, he makes the tour much more interesting. But family comes first. And right now, Earl Woods is far bigger for Tiger than a PGA TOUR stop, a World Ranking or a major championship. Go ahead and say that Im stating the obvious, but people have asked how soon hell come back.

Many are speculating that Woods would return for the U.S. Open, which happens to finish each year on Fathers Day. And while it would be a nice story for Tiger if he wins, it shouldnt matter a lick right now when the hurt goes so deep over losing your hero.

I was asked on a radio show what Earl did that worked so well. Actually, you could answer it by talking about the fact that Earl didnt do what so many other parents seem to do when their children find a love for sport or activity.

Many parents, myself included, find as much inspiration in their childs enthusiasm for sports or drama or whatever the interest, that they drive them to be the success story that they (the parent) couldnt quite be. Why is Little League so great? Cmon, youve heard the line. Because it keeps the parents off the streets.

Well, that wasnt Earl Woods. Earl wasnt the bully who wanted Tiger to achieve greatness at all costs. Earl said that his goal was not to create the good golfer. Instead, he wanted to create the good person.

Earl laid the groundwork. Earl instilled the drive to be the best that Tiger could be ' not the best that Earl wanted him to be. Theres a huge difference.

We all want success for our children. But what is the definition of success? And who determines if success is reached? For me, that choice is obvious ' its the child who decides.

Tiger and his father were a team. Together they worked. Together they achieved. And together they strived to make a difference beyond just Tigers success on the golf course.

The Tiger Woods Learning Center, the Tiger Woods Foundation. Each of these is probably as important to Tiger and Earl as his collection of ten major championships as a professional.

So why is this topic of when Tiger will come back the focus for me this week? Well, Thursday, in a meeting about the nights Golf Central show, the question was asked about whether or not we should discuss his potential dates of return.

And the topic created quite a stir. Sure, Tigers return to golf will be a story. Sure, Tiger will spend much of that time ' whatever tournament that might be ' answering questions about his Dad. And lets face it ' wed love to know if hell play the Memorial Tournament or the U.S. Open or some tournament beyond that.

But the decision was made to leave it alone. There will be a time to discuss Tigers return to the PGA TOUR. There will be a time to think about what major will come his way next. And there will be a time to discuss any potential rivalries on the golf course.

But the time is not now. Now, the time is right to let family be family. The time is to let Tiger be Tiger the person and not Tiger the player. The time is to let the family share in the joy of Earls life and the legacy he leaves behind.

Tiger will have plenty of time to chase titles and trophies. Right now, Tiger should have the right to do whatever he chooses at his own pace ' and without murmurs about his whereabouts or speculation about his future schedule.

Tiger has always been good about calling his own shots ' regardless of what others think. This time, there should be no questions.
 
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