Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods, dies
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 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."
Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and was treated with radiation, but the cancer returned in 2004 and spread throughout his body. Last month, he was too frail to travel to the Masters for the first time. His son finished tied for third.
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.
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.
"I knew Tiger was special the day he was born," Woods said in a May 2000 interview with The Associated Press.