Now hailing from Jupiter, Fla.,
Tiger is at home in his new town
Tiger Woods sightings are not unusual in these parts of Florida anymore. Used to be when the world’s most recognizable athlete would pop into Palm Beach Gardens, he’d hop on his yacht “Privacy” and
sail off to find peace exploring a coral reef. You’d hear stories
about him working out at Gold’s Gym in Jupiter or being in
Starbucks near Jack Nicklaus’ office in North Palm Beach,
but for the most part his visits were under the radar.
Now Tiger is seen with his kids at Duffy’s Sports Grill or
the Gardens Mall, without his sunglasses on, making eye
contact with people, becoming part of the community.
In early December, he dropped in on a branch of the Tiger
Woods Learning Center at Murray Middle School in
Stuart, Fla., surprising the eighth graders in a
forensics class, shooting hoops in the gym, chatting
with the teachers. He also accepted an invitation to
speak at the Jupiter Yacht Club, where witnesses
said he made a favorable impression on a notably conservative crowd, and played his first round at
Seminole GC, shooting 63 as guest of Deutsche Bank
CEO Seth Waugh, whose company is title sponsor of
a PGA Tour stop that benefits Woods’ charity.
At his club in Hobe Sound, Medalist, the staff and
the members—not just the touring pros—talk
about what an approachable guy Woods is. You
hear stories about him being at his kids’ plays after
practicing all day.
My amateur psychologist theory is the change of
scenery did the man good. There is a cathartic link
between his peace of mind off the course and his
play to close 2011, the third place in the Australian
Open, the singles victory in the Presidents Cup and
the win at the Chevron World Challenge.
So I sent an email to Tiger last week, and although
he didn’t buy into my calling it a “re-set,” he did
respond and elaborate on questions about his new
life in Palm Beach and Martin counties, where he
took up full-time residence late last summer.
“I wouldn’t call it a re-set, but this area is great,”
he said. “The kids and I really enjoy living here. Everyone
has been very nice and friendly. I’m able to take the kids
fishing, and we enjoy playing on the beach. It’s everything I
had hoped it would be.”
Woods made the point at the yacht club that he wanted
to make this part of the world, Jupiter and Florida’s
southeast coast, his home for the rest of his life. His mother,
Tida, has relocated. As a single father and golf icon, he has
experienced the Welcome Wagon almost everywhere. As he
said in Sydney during the Aussie Open, life moves forward.
At Medalist, where he set the course record, 62, “I
am just one of the guys.” At Murray Middle the kids
there are looking for inspiration not gossip—but it
was Woods who came away inspired. “It was so fun
to participate and be so fired up about learning,” he
said. At Seminole they’re still talking about some of
the shots he hit as he came within three of Claude
To Tiger, the turnaround or comeback or re-set occurred
because he became healthy physically, so he could practice
and be explosive again. Still, there’s something to be said
for turning 36 and having a clearer mind as well. gw
Chevron win to
being more settled
at home, but he
seems more at
ease since moving
to South Florida.
Scott Halleran/Getty ImaGeS