Earl Woods knew he had something special when he beget Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods into the world in 1975.
A year prior to his son being born, the elder Woods began to take up golf after reading Ben Hogan’s book and began to play it religiously. You see Earl Woods didn’t treat anything with a half-hearted attitude. As a former U.S. infantry officer, he expected perfection from everything he did, and everyone he did it with.
Yes, that included Tiger.
“You have to understand that my father being former special forces,” Woods said “You have to understand that mentality. They have to be the best at everything they do. So when he started playing the game of golf -once he got addicted to it – then it was on. Then he was going to get good.“
Earl became a one-handicap in a very short time. One of his favorite things to do was hit balls into a net he had set up in the family garage. With each swing, a baby Tiger would examine it with fresh eyes and would emulate the scratch golfer’s stroke.
“I was lucky,” Earl wrote in ‘Training A Tiger’. “Tiger took to the game immediately. Much like me, he had an instant infatuation with it. And I always kept him wanting more.”
To be clear, Earl by no means pushed Tiger to become a professional golfer. It was always a ‘labor of love and pleasure’ as Tiger described it. The genes for having a competitive attitude just run in the Woods’ bloodline. Think about it, Tiger’s father became a scratch golfer in a matter of years. People will spend their whole lifetime golfing in the 80’s, wishing – or begging – to reach the 70’s once.
Earl was not only a masterful golfer, but he could tell the future. When Tiger was 19 years old, Earl Woods predicted that Tiger would win exactly 14 Majors in his lifetime.
Talk about a chilling prediction.
On this date in 1995, Earl Woods, after Tiger, 19, wins the U.S. Amateur over Buddy Marucci at Newport Country Club: pic.twitter.com/m4YHAOVdrT
— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) August 27, 2017
When Earl made this prediction, he was making a very safe bet on his boy who was on his way to becoming golf’s most dominant player between the ages of 21-33. This prophecy didn’t put pressure on Tiger to go out there and bet Jack Nicklaus’ record of 16 majors. At the same time, Earl showed his son that he had confidence in him to go out on the PGA Tour and be a dominant force.
Fast forward to the present day and we are faced with the reality that Earl’s prediction for his son was spot-on. Tiger doesn’t appear to be coming back to play professional golf anytime soon, even though he is taking baby steps to a comeback by being an assistant coach for the U.S. President’s Cup team.
The injuries, off the course issues, and time are playing their part in making Earl Woods’ forecast become a harsh reality for Tiger.
And even if Tiger Woods only ends up with 14 Major championships, the world witnessed the greatest 10-year span a golfer will ever have. No one has come close to Tiger’s dominance…and no one will probably ever match it in the future.