Hilarious story from Tiger Woods’ youth was a sign of things to come

tiger woods five years old

There's plenty known about Tiger Woods' early years, but perhaps

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Some people need air and water to live, others need their jobs, their families, their friends. 

Tiger Woods needs golf. 

He has as professional, as an amateur, as a rising college and high school star — even as a toddler. 

Tiger, HBO’s new two-part documentary retrospective on Woods, draws back the curtain on Woods’ childhood. Much of Part 1, which debuted Sunday, chronicles Tiger’s nascent years, leaning on archival interviews from his parents, Earl and Tida.

“The level of concentration at that age was off the chart,” Earl says in one interview. “At 10 months I unstrapped him out of his high-chair one day, and he walked over, sat up, and hit the ball. I said, ‘Oh my god, I’ve got something special.’”

Later, Earl describes the painstaking (and hilarious) process of trying to feed Tiger as a toddler. 

In Earl’s recounting, little Tiger would refuse to eat if it distracted him from watching his father practice in the garage.

“He’d watch me hit balls into a golf net, he was totally immersed in that activity,” Earl said. “So much so that he had to be fed in there, because when my wife would try to take him out of the high-chair to feed him, no way, no. He said, ‘Uh-uh.’ 

“And he’d go like this, between shots,” Earl continued, pretending to be a youngster being spoon-fed before quickly swiveling his head back to watch his father. “It was beautiful to see.”

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Tida also shines a light on toddler Tiger’s golf obsession, saying her son was way happier at the golf course than he was at a playground.

“I’d have the stroller, the bottle, so I’d let him hit the ball at little bit,” Tida said in the film. “When he’d get tired a little bit, I’d give him the bottle, put him in the stroller and he’d go to sleep.”

There you have it. Before Tiger Woods could sleep through the night, before he’d had solid food, he had the golf bug.

More than four decades later, it makes perfect sense.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.