The famous golfing Tiger was born Eldrick Woods to African American father Earl and Thai mother Kutilda. The first letter in Eldrick is also the first letter of Earl, which is “E. ” The last letter in Eldrick is the first letter of Kutilda, which is “K. ” This was intentional and Kutilda’s idea. She had wanted his son’s name to constantly remind him that his parents will always be with him. Such parental devotion helped shaped the man and the success that made Tiger the icon that he is today. He lived in Cypress, California for the most part of his growing-up years.
It was definitely a happy childhood with loving parents around. Typical of children, Tiger had his share of favorite toys, but none compared to his early fondness for golf. At the age of six months he watched his dad playing golf with a net. At age 2, he appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and putted with Bob Hope. He then played a round of 48 for nine holes when he was just 3. He was a guest at ABC’s “That’s Incredible” at the age of 5 and was barely 8 years old when he won the Junior World Championships in 1984.
Starting early with his game and winning tournaments at a record-setting age, unbeaten until today is an indication of extra-ordinary talent. Undisputedly, it is no just skill and luck that make Tiger world class. He has broken barriers and set unbroken records. In the Junior World Championships he did not stop when he won at the age of 8 but pushed on to win again and again at the ages of 9, 12, 13, 14 and 15, making him the youngest ever and the only multiple champion.
Tiger began what would later be a very successful professional career in golf at such an amazing young age. The strings of achievements that he continues to reap today had been built on from those years. When children his age were learning the alphabet, Tiger was putting. Tiger turned his dream, of becoming the world’s best in golf, into reality. He banked on his very supportive parents and the steadying influence, particularly, of his father. He worked hard to perfect his skills.
He practiced the values of honesty and integrity in his game and in his life outside the course. He had responsibility and discipline, but most importantly he did not take the fun away from his game. The strong sense of values, instilled in him by his parents and his school, made a champion out of Tiger. As a boy he had a speech difficulty. He had a bad case of stuttering. He overcame this hurdle by simply believing he could. Just like the tournaments that would come in the years following, he showed an intensity that translated into wins after wins.
At 19 he became the youngest amateur golf champion and 21 when he won a professional golf championship title, again the youngest ever. He bested world champion Ernie Els and followed in the footsteps of golf great Jack Nicklaus. Jack Nicklaus made his mark in the annals of golf at a much older age than when Tiger began chalking up his victories. He had all kinds to boost his impressive line up of golf awards, from grand slams and back to back wins, multiple to consecutive championships, world sportsman of the year, to record and unprecedented scoring average.
From a prodigy to world’s best, Tiger has evolved. Earl Woods has the greatest influence on Tiger as a person and as a persona. The world will never forget the father-and-son embrace in Tiger’s first major win. It is what the world likewise misses most on the greens today. Tiger’s strength of character has the stamp of Earl. With Earl’s passing, Tiger’s world crashed. At the 2006 US Open, gone was the roaring Tiger of the greens. The memory of Earl’s words to Tiger about meeting no one tougher than himself, sent Tiger bouncing back, stronger and more determined.
His victory at the British Open back to back with the PGA Championship, both with 18 under par, is a testimonial that indeed his parents will always be with Tiger.
Latimore, C. (2007). Tiger Woods. The Biography Channel. Retrieved October 5, 2007, from http://www. thebiographychannel. co. uk/biography. story/1793:2474/6/Tiger. Woods. htm Junior Golf Guide (2007). Know the Tiger. Retrieved October 5, 2007, from http://www. junior-golf-guide. com/biography-on-tiger-woods. html