Father Knows Best: Tiger Woods' Dad Is a Champion, Too

Article excerpt

ELDRICK "TIGER" WOODS made history last week when he shattered the 72-hole scoring record at the Masters, becoming, at 21, the youngest and first black champion in the golf tournament's history.

Many writers and commentators remarked on how Woods would now become a role model for millions of Americans. That may be, but there's another role model that some are missing: Woods' father, Earl Woods. Americans watched him give his son a 30-second victory hug after his win. Earl Woods trained Tiger Woods from the time he was a baby.

In a nation where too many black fathers are absent from the home, Earl Woods stuck with his wife, Kultida, and his son, and raised him to be polite, courteous -- and one heck of a golfer. But Earl Woods is far from alone. Black fathers are much more than the pathologies that television newscasts are often made of. While the percentage of black fathers who do not live with the mother of their children is certainly high, many black fathers are responsible, living with their wives, raising their sons and daughters. These fathers are often invisible men when it comes to both the news and entertainment media. Black fathers rarely make the news unless they've done something criminal: robbed, raped or murdered someone. Rarely are they found on television or the big screen. Those producing movies seem to prefer stories about angry black men who can resolve nothing without guns, drug-addicted black men who can do nothing without crack cocaine, or buffoonish black men who think that they're God's gift to women but are instead the devil's cruel joke on them. America doesn't often get to see the Earl Woodses of the world, good men who work hard, raise their kids, cut their lawns and pay their taxes. So seldom are these men visible in the media that when they are seen, they're taken by some whites as being aberrations. When the "Cosby Show" hit NBC back in the '80s, it drew cries of disbelief from some who thought the idea of a black, upper middle-class doctor, his lawyer wife and their loving relationship with their youngsters was unrealistic. Surely some of those cries grew out of the fact that many whites had not seen loving relationships between black fathers and their children (and, in that case, blacks who were upper middle-class). …