February 01, 2016

Tiger reflects on 20 years of philanthropy

Embarking on a historical year for his foundation, Tiger sat down with CEO Rick Singer to reflect on the 20-year history and the exciting future that lies ahead.

Q: Describe what it feels like to look back on 20 years of the TWF?

A: If you would have told me we would help this many kids in the United States, and hopefully around the world shortly, I would have said you were crazy. I never dreamt we would be this big. 

Initially, we were a junior golf foundation. We held clinics and workshops and tried to get kids interested in the game of golf. I never thought we would have the influence we have.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment with TWF?

A: The number of kids whose lives have changed because of our educational programs and for the communities to open their arms and trust in us and believe in us. That to me is incredible. 

Q: What are the biggest strengths of TWF, internally and externally?

A: I would have to say our staff. Just the amount of hours they have logged. Their belief in what we’re trying to accomplish has been unwavering. If you look at most of my staff, they have been around for a decade-plus. Once they became a part of what we do, they stayed with us.

Q: What would Earl be most proud of?

A: Pops would be so proud of what we have been able to accomplish on the educational side. After I made the switch to go from golf to education, I think he would be shocked at how much of an impact we’ve had. 

Q: What are your expectations for TWF in the next decade?

A: We’re going to go global in the next few years. The expectation is to reach millions of kids and better their lives through our impact. 

Q: How has TWF exceeded your expectations?

A: If you look at the Earl Woods Scholars, it is truly amazing to hear about their lives. From where they were and where they are now, just because of our impact. What they’ve been able to achieve is just remarkable. And each Earl Woods Scholar class has become an extended family, and that is something I never would have foreseen. They keep in touch through college and after college to support each other and are still a part of each other’s lives. 

Q: Why are you investing so much in charitable work?

A: Golf is just what I do. It’s just an expression of me. But what I try and do for kids will outlive me and hopefully people will never remember what I did on the golf course. Hopefully, they will remember that this name is synonymous with education, betterment and safety. One of the things we are so proud of is that these kids are taking ownership of the foundation and the learning center. There is no graffiti or violence. They have taken complete ownership of it. We told them at the inception that you are part of a family, and they have taken that to another level.

Q: What do you want the foundation’s legacy to be?

A: It is a place of betterment, where dreams come true, and, ultimately, guidance for the next generation.

Q: You have often said that when you visit the learning centers, kids don’t know you are a professional golfer. 

A: I honestly hope they don’t. They don’t need to know what I did or what I’m doing. It is about their lives. It’s about a place where dreams can come true and how we can help make them come true.