From the start hed given the skeptics plenty of red meat to chew on'the startling comparisons to Jesus and Ghandi, as if Jack Nicklaus werent enough. Earl wasnt in the habit of filtering his thoughts through a big city public relations firm. Hed taken a daring metaphorical leap, intended to suggest that the son would be different than the ordinary sports champion and that his reach would generously extend to the children of the world.
Naturally, Earl never framed the future in such epic terms when dispensing wisdom to the son. No, the teachings were ones youve probably related to your own children, like, the more you put in, the more you get out. Share your gifts with those in need. Honor your mother and father. Discipline is the seed of a sturdy tree.
Odd that in his winter years Earl was hardly the embodiment of that physical discipline that has become a vital component of the sons makeup. A visitor may well have found him smoking cigarettes and eating whatever he pleased. Those who knew him well describe Earl as hard-headed but soft-hearted, in those ways a lot like the son.
Some people succeed in spite of their fathers, driven to fill a life devoid of a love every boy and girl craves with so many victories and so much money. Tiger has succeeded in large part thanks to his father.
And their story, though rare, is actually rather simple. A child is born with a gift. That gift is nurtured by the parents with time-tested ingredients, love and discipline. None of this happens, you might contend, without that incredible, prodigal talent. But that kind of God-given ability has known far more cases of waste than fulfillment.
Earl saw the promise as clearly as his son now sees the cup from five feet. The son believed the father, the son listened, the son trusted. Could a father ask for more? Too many sons fear the father, fear the ramifications of failure. Tiger reveled in the process.
And to those who wondered about the old Green Berets intentions and methods, the evidence gathered over the last 15 years is on the table. That evidence includes three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs, three consecutive U.S. Amateurs, a Masters by a dozen at age 21, nine more professional majors, a learning center for children and a foundation thats raised millions more.
Earl Woods helped to raise this generations greatest golf champion. But his most important achievement is that he leaves behind a loving and grateful son.
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