Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Earl Woods Died Today (1932-2006)

Tiger Woods, right, and his father, Earl Woods, left, wait for their agent Hughes Norton to tee off on the 10th tee of the Spyglass Hill Golf Course during a practice round in Pebble Beach, Calif., Tuesday Jan. 27, 1998. Tiger and his father will be playing together as a team in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Earl Woods, who was more determined to raise a good son than a great golfer and became the role model, architect and driving force behind Tiger Woods' phenomenal career, died Wednesday morning May 3, 2006 at his home in Cypress, Calif. He was 74. Photo Credit: AP, Eric Risberg

Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! Sports -

Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods, dies
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer - May 3, 2006


Earl Woods, who was more determined to raise a good son than a great golfer and became the architect and driving force behind Tiger Woods' phenomenal career, died Wednesday morning at his home in Cypress, Calif. He was 74.

"My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply," Tiger Woods said on his Web site. "I'm overwhelmed when I think of all of the great things he accomplished in his life. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend. I wouldn't be where I am today without him, and I'm honored to continue his legacy of sharing and caring."

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The last tournament Woods attended was the Target World Challenge in December 2004, when his son rallied to win and then donated $1.25 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation that his father helped him establish. The Tiger Woods Learning Center, another vision inspired by his father, opened in February.

Earl Woods was more than a golf dad, more than a zealous father who lived vicariously through his son's achievements.

He had played catcher for Kansas State, the first black to play baseball in the Big Eight Conference, and he had been a Green Beret for two tours in Vietnam. But he felt his true purpose was to train Tiger, and he watched his son evolve into the dominant player of his time -- the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam -- and one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.

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In the forward to his father's book, Woods said: "In retrospect, golf for me was an apparent attempt to emulate the person I looked up to more than anyone: my father. He was instrumental in helping me develop the drive to achieve, but his role -- as well as my mother's -- was one of support and guidance, not interference."
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Earl Woods was born March 5, 1932, in Manhattan, Kan., the youngest of six children. His parents died by the time he was 13.

His father wanted him to play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, and his mother stressed education. Woods wound up going to Kansas State, graduating in 1953 with a degree is sociology.

Woods did two tours during the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. It was his second tour that shaped the latter part of his life.

He met Kultida Punsawad, who was working as a receptionist in Thailand, and married her in 1969. He fought alongside Lt. Col. Nguyen T. Phong of the South Vietnamese army, a friend he nicknamed "Tiger" because of his courage and bravery. Woods promised Tiger Phong that he would name a son after him.

Eldrick "Tiger" Woods was born Dec. 30, 1975.

Earl Woods moved to Cypress, Calif., -- to the house where he died -- and set up a makeshift practice range in the garage with a mat and a net, placing his son in a high chair as he practiced.

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Woods was proud of saying he never left his son with a babysitter, but his goal was to eventually let Tiger run his own life.
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Long live Earl Woods, may God receive him now.

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