To absolutely no one’s surprise, Tiger Woods was selected for induction to the World Golf Hall of Fame. The induction, held on March 9, was at the new PGA TOUR World Headquarters building. One reason Woods qualified so soon is that those in charge decided to lower the age to from 50 to 45. Woods turned 46 last December.
To everyone’s surprise, Woods teared up even before he started talking.
“I just lost a bet to Stricker that I wouldn't cry,” were Woods first words. Everyone laughed.
Stricker is Steve Stricker, the recent Ryder Cup captain who is known for crying when he wins and sometimes just when he gets good news. The man is a waterworks machine.
It was unusual to see someone as controlled in his comments as Woods usually is crying on stage, his human side exposed. Perhaps the tears were because his daughter Sam had just done the introduction.
“I inducted you into the Dad Hall of Fame a long time ago, but today I am so proud to present my dad, Tiger Woods, into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” she said.
That apparently did it. Tears flowed.
In their speeches, Sam and Tiger Woods did give us some new information on his formative years.
He once had a dog called Boom Boom, named after Fred Couples.
He has dressed up as Batman to go to Comic-Con.
When he was young used to play putting games and would win quarters from people at the golf course. His dad told him he couldn’t putt for quarters anymore. So, he went for dollars. His dad stopped that, too. The next week, he came home with more dollars and again his dad asked him how he got them. The answer was that he beat people at skins.
When he was 8, he was “too young” to be on the golf course. The acceptable age was 10. But his mother used to drop him off near the course, and he’d sneak on and hide under a culvert on the third hole until his dad arrived after work. Then the two of them would play until they lost a ball. The longest they played was 17 holes. In the winter, that meant playing in the dark.
“We had a rule,” Woods explained. “If you ever lost the golf ball, we'd be done, and we'd have to drive in. So, part of understanding how to shape shots and knowing where I hit it on the face, where I would hit it, all started then. So, if I hit it, Dad, I pulled it left, it's up the left side, it's going to be here.”
Realistically, what qualifies for dark in a large metro area is different than in the middle of farm country or being in an unpopulated area of the desert at night. That can be amazingly dark. Night in Ponte Vedra is often light enough to find your way around, but certainly not ideal for golf.
Now, Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, taught him to have a great work ethic. Because of that, he has opinions on the kind of effort needed to improve and stay on top.
“If you don't go out there and put in the work, you don't go out and put in the effort; one, you're not going to get the results, but two, and more importantly, you don't deserve it. You need to earn it,” Woods said.
Woods said several times that he did not have success all on his own.
“I had unbelievable parents, mentors, friends who allowed me and supported me in the toughest times, the darkest of times, and celebrated the highest of times,” he said.
With Woods’ career, the World Golf Hall of Fame induction was a given. His humbleness and tears were not.
[READ MORE: Tim Finchem also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Read about it here.]
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