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Dan Zeitang 2002-2003

Growing Up

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      The great Tiger Woods wasn't always the Tiger.  The golf legend Eldrick Woods was born on December 30, 1975 in Cypress, California.  He is the child of African American Earl Woods and his Thai mother Kultida. (The "E" and the "K" at the beginning and end of his name are the initials of his parents.)
      Tiger's father Earl had married once before and had three children.  Since Earl was in the army, he met Kultida after he was divorced.  Kultida was a receptionist at the military base in Bangkok, Thailand.  Then they got married and moved to Cypress, California where Tiger was born.
      In Earl's first relationship, his former wife accused him of not giving their children enough attention, so he wanted to devote more of his time to Tiger.  When Tiger was only six months old, his father took him into the garage to hit golf balls into a net.  Tiger would only watch his father, but when he was ten months old he mimicked a swing like his dad's.  His dad said he was, "...the first intuitive black golfer ever raised in the United States."
      At only eighteen months old, Tiger was taken to a driving range, and a few months before his third birthday he played at his first hole on a golf course.  He shot an 11 on a par-4, 410 yard hole on Destroyer Course (It was owned by the U.S. Navy and his father was entitled to play there thanks to his previous service in the U.S army.)  To add to all of that, when Tiger was three he won a "pitch putt and drive" against kids ten and eleven years old.  One day before he was four he shot 48 for nine holes at another Navy Course.
      Tiger progressed and even made a few television appearances. His first golf teacher, after his dad, was Rudy Duran, the golf pro at Heartwell Golf Park, when he was allowed to play on his golf course after the Navy Courses started a minimum age of ten.  Tiger was able to drive the ball 126 yards.  To help his son along, Earl put Tiger through "Wood's Finishing School."  It was Earl's way to give Tiger the mental preparation. He used obnoxious tricks to get him used to distractions.  The "school" paid off as Tiger went on to have many victories as an amateur golfer...


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