Golfer Tiger Woods Slows the Pace
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ While Tiger Woods takes his much-needed break from golf, he won’t be watching any television. The 18-year-old Stanford freshman says he doesn’t own a TV for the same reason he’s temporarily retreating from his sport.
School comes first.
″I didn’t bring a TV because I would watch all the time and I wouldn’t study,″ said Woods, revealing his ″just a teen-ager″ side.
Woods, the youngest player and the only black to win the U.S. Amateur, says he needs a rest from golf - and all the attention he generates - until Stanford resumes tournament play in February.
Woods knows his accomplishments on the golf course put him in the spotlight, and it means he must grant countless interviews and make numerous public appearances. It’s a necessary evil to a point, he notes.
″Usually I take a break after the summer, but I couldn’t do that because of college golf,″ he said. ″So I’m taking my break now.″
At Stanford, Woods says he’s just another freshman. He lives in a dormitory, the only one on campus that hasn’t been renovated. He says the dorms aren’t fitted for cable, another reason his room doesn’t include a TV.
He takes classes in civics, computers and ″Portuguese Cultural Perspectives.″ And, of course, he hangs out with his dormmates and the other friends he’s made.
″I’ll let loose at parties,″ he said with a smile. But when asked how, he replied: ″I can’t tell you.″
Woods spent the summer before his first year of college gaining tournament wins at the Western Amateur, the Southern California Amateur and the Pacific Northwest Amateur.
But it was his stunning U.S. Amateur win in August at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., that gained Woods the most recognition.
The lanky 6-foot-1, 150-pound teen-ager was down by six holes after 13 holes of the 36-hole final, but came back to win over Trip Kuehne of Oklahoma State.
He won his first collegiate tournament, the Tucker Invitational at the University of New Mexico, by three strokes.
In October, Woods played on the U.S. Team that won the World Amateur Championships in Versailles, France. He also won the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate tournament at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala. His victory made him 2-3 in college play. Stanford won the team title at the tournament.
During a recent interview at Stanford, Woods said he did not want to discuss his experience at Shoal Creek, which once vowed never to accept black members.
Woods is unfailingly honest. If there’s a question he doesn’t want to answer, or a topic he wants to avoid, he says so. There’s no dancing around.
″Once I got to know his mom and dad I felt there’s got to be an exceptional kid here, and there is,″ said Stanford coach Wally Goodwin. ″If you were up here and saw him on a day-to-day basis, you would see he’s remarkable with people.″
Woods, along with the rest of his teammates, won’t resurface until February when the Stanford team travels to the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii.
Stanford has four of five starters returning this year from the team that captured the 1994 NCAA men’s title. Goodwin said the Cardinal has a good shot at repeating.
″I think our strength is I’ve got five relentless guys ... They’re proficient, focused, yet loveable guys. It’s a very interesting combination,″ Goodwin said.
Woods, meanwhile, seems out to prove he’s not only an exceptional golfer, but also a regular, well-adjusted guy.
″I’m very mellow. I’m not a guy who has a lot of mood swings - peaks and valleys - I’m pretty stable,″ he said.
And his goals? Once again, that subject is taboo.
″My goals are my goals,″ he said.