Imagine being a three-year old, beginning to embark on a life long mission which has been chosen for you. Spending hours in the backyard being taught, to the smallest detail, how to swing a golf club. Gradually improving daily from sunrise to sunset for twenty-seven years. Giving your life away for a commitment to a game that your race is not suppose to be involved with. This was the childhood of Tiger Woods.
The person responsible for his dedication was his father; Earl Woods.
Earl was a dynamic athlete, excelling in baseball throughout his childhood days and into college. After his days on the diamond, he became a part of the US Army. He would serve two tours of duty in Vietnam under the position of US Army Infantry officer. Earl would transfer his perks as a retired lieutenant commander into developing his son, Tiger, into one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen.
The Woods family was poor and unable to afford many luxuries goods while Tiger was growing up. However, being a part of the US Army allowed Earl to have unlimited access to the military golf course right outside his home in Orange County, California. Earl was Tiger’s only coach until he became a national prodigy after dominating at the amateur level around age eleven. Although Earl would turn to PGA professional teachers to take Tiger’s game to the next level, he remained the driving force and most influential person for the rest of his sons’ career.
Earl had a plan to develop his sons game from “green to tee.” Tiger’s short game was built to perfection before he became one of the most dominant ball strikers on the face of the planet. Besides being the father figure for Tiger, Earl said “I treated Tiger as an equal. We transcended the parent-child relationship and became best friends.” This relationship allowed Earl to ingrain a mentality in Tiger which separated him from all others. This aggressive, fearless, and military type attitude allowed Tiger to take risks and pull off shots and overcome obstacles that golf fans have only dreamed of witnessing. However, with these traits comes a spotlight and with a spotlight comes the ability to have impacts on others. That very perk is what Earl believed in the most, and what Tiger would succeed and fail at.
Guided by Earl’s advice and support Tiger dominated the world of Golf from 1997-2006, winning 52 events, 12 of his 14 major championships, and holding the world number one ranking for ten straight seasons. Then a tragedy that would traumatize his career and derail his life occurred on May 6, 2006. His father, Earl, dies of prostate cancer.
Ten day’s after the passing of his father, Tiger went to a special ops training facility in San Diego. The training officer asked him “why are you here?” Tiger responded with “My dad,” “My dad told me I had two paths to choose from.” He’d either end up being a golfer or a special operations soldier. Tiger quickly started to question what path in life to take, and for the first time he didn’t have his role model to give him advice.
Tiger’s life would begin to take a turn for the worst. He would suffer many injuries, which would altar his career and golfing ability. His winning percentage would plummet and for the first time in his career, Tiger Wood’s found himself outside the top 100 golfers in the world.
More importantly, Tiger’s social life would take a turn for the worst. His wife Elin would find out Tiger had been involved with a number of sexual scandals during their marriage. This event was highly publicized and destroyed his persona. Tiger would take months away from the course and attempt to fix his relationships with his family, fans, and competitors.
After many years of criticism for his actions, Tiger realized he had to make a change. He wanted to make his father proud. Tiger developed several community service programs; most notably The Tiger Woods Foundation. His foundation helps children learn core values of golf, and how to implement them on and of the course. Other programs allow Tiger to help injured veterans, less fortunate children, and the military in general. The decision to follow in his father’s vision of who he wanted Tiger to be allowed Woods to earn respect back.
Tiger has always been supported by his father, throughout his life. That is why he has been so successful. Tiger had someone to ask for advice, he always had someone looking out for him. When he lost that support (when Earl died) his life took a turn for the worst. Tiger finally realized the path he chose after his father’s death has turned him into a man that he never wanted to become. As always he turned to his father for support, this time through his heart, and became the golfer and man he was supposed to be.