It's Simple: School Comes First

Tiger Woods demonstrates to local kids what it takes

The world's greatest golfer left an indelible message on the minds of 2,500 children and adults last week at Long Beach's El Dorado Golf Course:

"Hard work and having your priorities straight are all you need to make it in this world."

At a golf clinic on April 14, 2001, sponsored by The Tiger Woods Foundation, with the help of the City of Long Beach, Coca-Cola and American Golf, Tiger wowed his audience with golf skills, lessons on life and pure charisma. Both of his parents, Earl and Kultilda Woods were also present.

The day began with individual golf lessons for 50 select novice golfers from many of Los Angeles' best instructors. Al "Greek" Rand, Michael Williams and Charlie Lee. These instructors provided lessons for all the new golfers, some barely tall as their clubs. This session was followed by a private clinic for 25 advanced juniors by Alton Duhon, with Tiger Woods taking the time to work with each junior one on one.

Tiger was both pleased and impressed with the talent of the children he saw. After seeing Edward Turner hit a 200-yard 5-iron shot, Tiger's response was "Wow", with a huge grin as the ball sailed through the air in a very "Tigeresque" manner. Later in the day he acknowledged that he had just come face-to-face with some of his future competition.

YGAA's Edward Turner, Vanessa Brockett, L.C. Honore and Kevin Palmer all received one on one. Keven said it was not just an honor to be in his hero's presence, but an honor to receive a lesson from Tiger. Funny thing, Tiger told him where he needed to make some changes - guess what, it was the same changes Mr. Duhon and Mr. Lee have been telling him about.

Edward Turner, when interviewed said Tiger's advice to him was "smell your armpit in the back swing". Tiger put a smile on Edward's face, which we all like to see. After a brief press conference following the advanced training session, Tiger was ready for his session with 2500 screaming fans.

It was very dramatic, even sending chills up and down my spine. The "Eye of the Tiger" was being played and coming out of huge speakers - you looked down the fairway - here comes about 6 golf carts. It still gives me goose bumps. When Tiger' s cart drove up, driven by Marcus Williams, the gallery went ballistic, then this young man stepped out. He was grinning from ear to ear. He knew that he was welcome and adored.

Tiger addressed 2,500 excited children and parents for the next 45 minutes. He mesmerized the entire audience with remarkable chip shots and highflying 300+ yard drives, all the while discussing the fundamentals of the golf swing and the virtues of hard work and discipline."

My mom used to stop me from playing golf if I didn't get my homework done", he shared proudly. The children in the crowd responded with a sense of personal knowledge. Several children were chosen to ask specific questions, some which Tiger answered in his charming easy going style. When one of the Juniors asked him what could he do to be like him, Tiger answered, "You better eat your Wheaties!"

When asked what it was like the first time he played in front of the cameras, Tiger honestly replied that he didn't remember because he was just 3 years old. The Long Beach event was the first of four such clinics that Tiger and his foundation will hold this year.

YGAA feels very fortunate to have been invited to this wonderful event. Thanks to Dennis Burns, Director of Jr. Golf for the Tiger Woods Foundation and Coca-Cola, we had over 80 children and parents in attendance. All of the youth from YGAA will remember this event for many years to com.A special thanks to California Touch of Class for providing the transportation.

For information about our program and inquiries to help support our program, call (323) 292-7030 or email us at ygaa@ygaa.org

Copyright © 2001, Young Golfers of America Association. All rights reserved.