Golfers at Old Hangout Remember Tiger and Father

By Associated PressMay 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
CYPRESS, Calif. -- Paul Traughber remembers the day a kid named Tiger Woods showed up to play in an 18-and-under golf tournament.
The tournament scout had invited the scrawny 14-year-old to participate in the annual event after watching him play on a school team. 'You're going to remember this kid because he's named after an animal,' Traughber recalls the scout saying.
Woods took fourth place. The next year, he won. The third year, his father, Earl Woods, said he wouldn't be playing again.
'I went to his house to ask why and Earl said, 'You know, Tiger's on a career path. He can't do any better than he's already done -- he's already won,'' Traughber recalled. 'He didn't want any setbacks for Tiger.'
Players on the golf courses where a young Tiger Woods grew up remembered the star's father above all for his kind but firm discipline as his son rose to stardom. Earl Woods died Wednesday at his Cypress home after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer. He was 74.
'Earl always did a great job with that kid in molding his mind and personality,' said Michael Keith, a PGA apprentice at the Dad Miller Golf Course where Tiger played in high school. 'That's all Earl ever did. I think they had a great relationship. His dad was his whole life.'
Many fellow golfers recalled watching Tiger putt ball after ball with his father on the greens, starting at the age of 5. The pair kept to themselves, they said, but father and son were always polite -- even after Tiger became famous.
Tiger often hit balls on the local courses for hours as a teenager, buying $2 buckets of golf balls with quarters he won from other players during putting games. His father, however, wouldn't let him play until he'd finished his homework.
'I've got a lot of respect for him the way Tiger's come out,' said Bill Huss, a 64-year-old PGA pro who's played at the Dad Miller course for 22 years. 'The old man would get on him a little bit and keep him straight.'
One of Tiger's first coaches, John Anselmo, said some people questioned the way Earl Woods handled his son. Anselmo, who coached Tiger from age 10 to 20, said the elder Woods was 'like a psychiatrist' who could keep everything about his son, including his emotions, in check.
'He was a human being,' Anselmo, now 85, said. 'There was a lot of talk about him, but he was right about everything he said. I agreed with him, because I could see the future of this young man (Tiger).'
Keith said that when Tiger played at Dad Miller, crowds of reporters would gather. The course was finally forced to put up signs that read 'Spectators are restricted to paved and concrete areas adjacent to clubhouse.' One still hangs above the counter in the pro shop.
Down the road, at the Navy Golf Course, players said they seldom saw Tiger, but often played with his father. The course, which is attached to the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, is restricted to military veterans.
'We were so impressed with how well he did with his son. We asked him how he did it,' said Art Valenzuela, 73, of Garden Grove. 'He told us how Tiger used to come over that fence over there as a kid and pretend he was in the Masters.'
Another golfer, Tom Wright, said he recalled seeing Tiger and his father practicing at a 3-hole course in Long Beach in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It wasn't until years later, when Tiger was famous, that he realized who they were.
'Earl was pretty pointed in his comments' even at Tiger's young age, Wright recalled. 'He was an excellent teacher. He saw things in his swing that you're not liable to see even if you had a camera pointed at him.'
Related Links:
  • Earl Woods Succumbs to Cancer at 74
  • Lerner's Journal: Earl's Legacy is His Son
  • Statement From Tiger Woods
  • PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem statement
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson


    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

    The second is from Sunday night.

    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.