Remembering Earl: A Q&A with Tida Woods
On May 3, 2006, the world said goodbye to Earl Woods. From his death came the birth of the Earl Woods Scholarship, brought to life by Tiger and generous individuals from around the world who donated more than $1 million in Earl’s memory. With a 98 percent graduation rate, the Earl Woods Scholarship offers low-income and first-generation college students the support and mentorship necessary for their academic success and beyond. On the 10th anniversary of his death, we asked Tida Woods to reflect on her late husband’s legacy of learning.
Tell us about Earl’s philosophy of “caring and sharing.”
Caring and sharing is something Earl truly believed in. He would encourage Tiger to share his gift of golf with others. In a way, the golf clinics are a great example of Earl’s philosophy. He saw the natural gift his son had, and he wanted Tiger to share his knowledge, talent and passion about the game with the next generation of golfers.
Why did you and Earl place so much importance and emphasis on Tiger’s education as he was growing up?
Education was so important to Earl and me. Earl would always remind Tiger that education is something that nobody can ever take away from you. Your education is yours forever. Even if your house were to burn down, you will always have your knowledge until the day you die.
Where did Earl’s desire to have the Tiger Woods Foundation focus on education and mentorship come from?
Believe it or not, it was Tiger who suggested to Earl that the Tiger Woods Foundation should broaden its reach to helping kids in education. Orange County, California, was an obvious choice for the both of them to build the Tiger Woods Learning Center, as this was where Tiger grew up.
What would Earl think about the foundation and the Tiger Woods Learning Center today?
Earl would be so proud. He would be proud that the dream he shared with Tiger came true. He would be proud that Tiger, 20 years later, is still working toward helping kids obtain an education so that they can better themselves and improve their lives. As a mother, it makes me so proud to see him grow up and, in his small way, never forget where he has come from. For every opportunity that Tiger has received, he has never forgotten that there are kids out there who have far less opportunities. I do think if Earl were still alive he would be so proud of him, like I am.
One of the scholars will be a doctor. What are your thoughts, or what do you think Earl would say?
How about that! That is so wonderful to be a doctor and to help all people. This scholar set a goal and achieved it. For Earl, setting a goal and working toward it was always so important.
What is one thing the foundation can do to keep Earl’s memory and legacy alive?
The best way to keep Earl’s memory alive is keeping the Tiger Woods Learning Center up and running, as well as keeping the Earl Woods Scholarship Program alive. Earl truly wanted to see all kids reach their goals in life, regardless of what those goals might be. The Earl Woods Scholarship Program allows students the ability to identify their goals and formulate a plan to work toward it. I know Earl would want his scholarship program to always help students strive to be their best selves for many years to come.
Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.