Tiger tells of joys of life as new dad
Tiger Woods has been juggling with training sessions around new daddy duties and putting the final touches upon his first PGA event as a host.Updated: Jul 04, 2007 18:10 IST
Tiger Woods was trying to win last month's US Open while worrying about his hospitalised wife Elin and their unborn child, the world's number one golfer revealed.
Saying he wants more children despite the new-father headaches of sleepless nights and diaper changing, Woods made his first public comments since daughter Sam Alexis was born on June 18, hours after he shared second spot at the Open.
"That night was infinitely more rewarding than any W (win) ever could have been," Woods said.
"It has been fantastic these last couple of weeks to have Sam Alexis part of our life. It was a dream come true for Elin and myself and all of our family."
Woods said that his wife was hospitalised the day the US Open began at Oakmont. He flew home on Sunday after sharing second behind winner Jose Coceres and was at Elin's side when Sam Alexis was born early on Monday morning.
"She had some complications and she was admitted on Thursday," Woods said. "We talked all the time. Everything was all right. It wasn't life-threatening or anything but she had some complications."
Woods has been a master of ignoring distractions in winning 12 major titles, six shy of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record, but setting aside his wife's distress took a toll.
"It wasn't easy. I wanted to be there," Woods said. "The doctor and Elin said there was nothing I could do, so just go out there and get a W."
Woods rushed back to his wife's side after the event and they decided to name their daughter Sam because it was the less-famous nickname Earl Woods, Tiger's late father who died of cancer 14 months go, had given his son.
"My father had always called me 'Sam' since the day I was born," Woods said. "I said, 'Why dont you call me Tiger?' He said, 'You look more like a Sam.'"
Woods has already placed a golf club in Sam's hand, but the two-week old infant is not exactly Slammin' Sam just yet.
"She couldn't quite hold it, but it was there," Woods said.
And Woods made it clear that Sam can expect a little brother or sister at some stage.
"Something Elin and I talked about on our first night was how you can love something so much that didn't exist the day before," Woods said.
"We never experienced anything like that and certainly it's one that was different and special and something that we want to experience again."
Woods will play his first competitive round as a father on Thursday at the inaugural PGA National, a new 6 million-dollar event hosted by Woods at Congressional Country Club that was assembled on four months' notice.
"The course is in phenomenal shape," Woods said. "It's going to be a heck of a test."
Monday was the first night Woods spent away from the baby since she was born and the world's top golfer found sleep elusive.
"I definitely don't sleep now," Woods said. "My first night away from home and I had to wake up basically every 45 minutes."
Woods has juggled training sessions with coach Hank Haney around new daddy duties and putting the final touches upon his first PGA event as a host on a course that will play much like it did 10 years ago when it hosted a US Open.
"It's just time management and understanding where your priorities are," Woods said. "Our priority is Sam. That's number one and you take it from there."
"I've just been changing diapers and doing feedings," Woods said. "You feel somewhat guilty for not being there to help out but Elin's mom and my mom are there to help her and try to make it as smooth as possible.
"I know I can't physically be there all the time. That's going to be frustrating. But I will try to be there as much as I possibly can."
That means fewer trips outside of golf, Woods said.
"With our new addition to the family, I probably won't explore as many (business opportunities) as I was before. I want to be home with Sam and E," Woods said.
Asked if he would have stayed for an 18-hole US Open playoff on Monday, Woods said, "That didn't happen. It would be all hypothetical. I'm not going down that road."
Woods, whose father was a green beret, will play alongside two US soldiers in a Pro-Am event on Wednesday and has donated tickets to the event to US military personnel, saying, "It's a way to say thank you for what they're doing for us."
Had Woods flopped as a golfer, he might very well be serving in Iraq now.
"I told dad if I didn't make it in the first two years, I would probably end up going into the military," Woods said.
First Published: Jul 04, 2007 17:34 IST