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Friends and family remember Earl Woods

Friends and relatives came to the Tiger Woods Learning Center on Friday to privately remember Earl Woods, the golf star's father who died this week after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Earl Woods was best known for the impact he had on his son, who began hitting balls at age 3 after watching as his father practice his swing in the family's garage. He died Wednesday at his Cypress home. He was 74.

Mourners arrived at the memorial and reception after the burial at a cemetery in Cypress. In attendance were former basketball great Charles Barkley, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, Nike chairman Phil Knight, volleyball player and model Gabrielle Reece and her husband, pro surfer Laird Hamilton, among others.

Limousines delivered Tiger Woods, his wife, Elin, and his mother, Kultida.

Police restricted reporters to a public sidewalk about 10 feet from the entrance to the center.

Earl Woods, who was more determined to raise a good son than a great golfer, was the driving force behind Tiger Woods' phenomenal career.

A smoker who had heart bypass surgery in 1986, Earl Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and was treated with radiation. But the cancer returned in 2004 and spread throughout his body.

The last tournament he attended was the Target World Challenge in December 2004, when his son rallied to win and then donated $1.25 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation that his father helped him establish.

The 35,000-square-foot facility where the memorial and reception were held is located next to the H.G. "Dad" Miller Golf Course, where Tiger Woods played when he was in high school.

At the center's opening ceremony in February, Tiger Woods nearly broke down when he mentioned the support of his father, who was already too ill to attend.

"I talked to him last night," he said at the time. "He kept telling me how proud he was of what I was able to do, and proud of me for thinking of this. It's hard on all of us."

 

 




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