TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (AP) — Father. Entrepreneur. Course designer. At only 31, Tiger Woods is uncovering personal dimensions that have little to do with his championship golf game.
The latest came earlier this week when Woods said he would design a course in the North Carolina mountains — his company’s first U.S. project.
“The reason I waited so late is I wanted to make sure the timing is right,” Woods said Tuesday when the announcement was made about the new course. “And the timing is right. There’s a wonderful balance in my life.”
A big reason is 2-month-old Sam Alexis, the first child for Woods and wife Elin.
“It’s hard to believe,” said Woods, his eyes lighting up when discussing his daughter. “When we first had her that night, Elin and I just looked at each other and said, ‘How do you love something so much that didn’t exist an hour ago?”‘
Woods immediately headed home for more time with his family after meeting with reporters about the new course, The Cliffs of High Carolina.
He’ll change diapers, no matter how bad the odor, and help with late-night crying.
“It’s the little things. It’s having her change from day to day. It’s fun,” Woods said.
“It’s so hard, but so much fun, you want to do it again,” he added, laughing. “Go figure.”
Woods’ growing family so far hasn’t affected his play. The world’s No. 1 golfer has won twice since Sam’s birth June 18, including Aug. 11 at the PGA Championships for his 13th career major.
Almost from the time he won his first major, the 1997 Masters, Woods was the face of golf and the PGA Tour. He starred in countless commercials, maturing from a skinny 20-something to the chiseled megastar of today.
But he and American Express recently ended their decade-long endorsement partnership. Woods told reporters there might be less of him on TV.
“I figure I’ve done enough commercials and stuff like that,” he said. “It was fun for a while. Now I want to try something else.”
Woods expects he’ll devote some of his extra time to the design business. Besides the planned layout near Asheville, N.C., Woods is working on a course in Dubai.
For Woods, design is a fascinating, new opportunity — as mentally stimulating as becoming the best golfer in the world was to him 10 years ago.
“We all like different challenges in life,” Woods said. “That’s why we read different books, we have different activities. That’s why we don’t play the same golf courses all the time.”
Cliffs owner Jim Anthony said Woods has been focused and determined regarding the project — like the concentration he displays at major championships. “He holds us accountable,” Anthony said.
Not that Woods plans to let his game slip. He only wants to take on select projects and will continue teeing it up as he pursues Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
Is the new business venture a chance to leave Sam and potential siblings something more than a roomful of trophies?
“No, no, it’s not about that,” Woods said emphatically.
“They’re going to have to earn their own lives,” he said. “I will provide an atmosphere in which they will be encouraged to go out there” and explore the world.
Should his children fail, Woods said they can always return home and “we’ll love them to death. But they have to carve out their own lives, that’s their responsibility. That’s the way I was raised.”
Sounds like Woods wants to be as proficient at raising children and building a business as he has been in dominating the world’s best golfers.
“I take great pride in what I do,” Woods says. “When my name’s on it, I give it everything I possibly have.”