Tigers Masters Memories About Father

By Associated PressApril 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods has memories at the Masters that have nothing to do with green jackets, blooming azaleas or spectacular chip-ins.
 
They're memories of hugs, tears, evenings spent together. Memories of a few well chosen words of support.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods takes in one final practice round Wednesday.
He talks about them only grudgingly because he would prefer they remain private. The questions come anyway because, after all, he is Tiger Woods.
 
His father is home in California, his body ravaged by cancer. Earl Woods is the toughest man his son knows, but even the tough old Green Beret isn't going to win this one.
 
Woods won't discuss the details. Would rather not talk about it publicly at all, if given the preference.
 
It's a family matter, and family matters most.
 
'Everyone who has had a family member or lived that long, you're going to deal with it sometime,' Woods said Tuesday. 'Unfortunately, it's our time right now.'
 
The timing couldn't be worse. Not because Woods is favored to win a fifth Masters, but because of what the annual spring week in Augusta has always meant to both father and his famous son.
 
This is where Tiger romped to his first major win as a 21-year-old, then tearfully embraced the man who helped make it possible as he walked off the 18th green. Earl Woods wasn't supposed to be here that year, wasn't supposed to be anywhere after barely making it through a difficult heart bypass surgery before the tournament.
 
He came, though, and gave his son a putting lesson that helped him win by 12 shots in a victory that was historic for far more than just the winning margin.
 
Earl Woods came last year, too, sharing time with his son and his son's new bride even though he was too ill to make it to the course. Woods won a playoff with Chris DiMarco, then rushed home to share it with his dad.
 
'Every year that I've been lucky enough to win this tournament, my dad's been there to give me a big hug. And today, he wasn't there,' Woods said then, his voice cracking and his eyes filling with tears. 'I can't wait to get home and see him, and give him a big bear hug.'
 
Earl Woods got that hug. He'll have to wait a little longer for another.
 
For the first time since Woods first played here as an amateur, his father won't be in Augusta. He was too ill to travel, so ill that Woods left after a practice round at the Player's Championship last month and flew to California to spend a few hours with him.
 
Woods surprised his father that day, who greeted his son by saying 'What the hell are you doing here?'
 
To Tiger, that was a good sign. It meant his father hadn't given up.
 
Earl Woods would have wanted his son to stay in Florida and focus on the task at hand. This was the man who taught Tiger concentration, gave him his competitiveness as he raised him from his high chair with a golf club in his hand.
 
This was the man who devoted his life to making his son the best.
 
'I knew Tiger was special the day he was born,' Earl Woods said a few years ago.
 
Earl Woods raised the greatest player in the game. Perhaps more important, he raised a son who loves him deeply.
 
The bond between father and son was evident in the few glimpses allowed the public. It runs a lot deeper in private, which makes it these times even harder.
 
'It's always been family first,' Woods said. 'For me, it's awfully tough. It's hard for my mom as well and everyone who knows my father.'
 
Woods played poorly at the Player's Championship, and sprayed the ball around in a practice round Tuesday. But it's not in his nature to use the distraction of his father's illness as an excuse, and he has won three times this year with the same things weighing on his mind.
 
He'll tee off Thursday as the favorite to win his fifth Masters in 10 tries as a professional. At this rate, Woods going to fulfill the prophecy of Jack Nicklaus, who predicted at the time of Tiger's first win that Woods would win more green jackets than the 10 that he and Arnold Palmer had combined.
 
Woods is already the greatest player of his time. In a few more years he'll likely be recognized as the greatest player ever.
 
But Woods has become more than just the dominant player his father raised him to be. He's a cultural icon, a player who transcends the game and a billionaire in the making.
 
Woods has a beautiful wife, and a beautiful life. His yacht cost $22 million, and his new Florida home even more.
 
Everything is done on his terms, from the way he prepares for majors to the way he jealously guards his private life. His recent '60 Minutes' profile revealed nothing, yet was so fawning it looked more like a Nike infomercial than a television feature.
 
But even Woods can't control everything.
 
He can't stop the hurt he feels away from the course. He can't stop the cancer that will someday take his father from him.
 
Earl Woods is only human.
 
So, it turns out, is his son.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
     
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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.