<
>

Woods arrives for week of military training

4/13/2004 - Tiger Woods

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Fresh from green jackets of Augusta National,
Tiger Woods arrived at the home of the Green Berets on Monday for a week of military training.

Woods, who finished 22nd at the Masters on Sunday, came on a
private jet for his visit with the Army Special Forces. But Woods
probably won't get the same type of training as his father, an
ex-Green Beret who trained here during the Vietnam War.

"I don't know how rough they're going to train him," retired
Army Sgt. Maj. Dwight Nixon said Monday as he made the turn at the
base's Stryker Golf Course. "They probably won't train him quite
as hard, but they'll give him something."

While Nixon got a dose of Woods' everyday life, Woods was
getting ready for a taste of the military.

The golfer was issued a camouflaged uniform with his name on it,
Bragg spokesman Lt. Col. Bill Buckner said. He also received an
orientation to the post, the Army and the Special Forces.

Woods did not make himself available for questions Monday, and
his representatives have said he wants his Bragg experience to be
private. He is scheduled to meet with reporters Friday, when he
gives a golf clinic and demonstration at Stryker.

Woods is scheduled to watch Green Berets handle their weapons
and sweep through an urban assault course before getting a chance
to try it himself, Buckner said.

But no one should expect the 28-year-old Woods to be plopped in
the middle of the wilderness and challenged to survive on his own
for days, as Green Berets do.

And his visit to Bragg bears no resemblance to heavyweight boxer
Riddick Bowe's effort in 1997 to survive Marine boot camp at Parris
Island, S.C., Buckner said.

"He's not going to have a drill sergeant barking up and down at
him and yelling at him to get in line," Buckner said "He's going
to get some exposure and experience with how Special Forces
operators conduct business."

While some rolled their eyes Monday as they discussed the
special treatment for the world's best golfer -- who earns close to
$90 million a year -- more were complimentary of his attempt to
connect with his father's military experience.

Earl Woods first trained at Fort Bragg in 1963 following a tour
in Vietnam, and he was assigned to a Special Forces unit here
before leaving for another tour in 1970.

David Pugh, who tries to play a daily round at Stryker, was
pleased that Woods was in town.

"He's giving something back to the community," said Pugh, a
retired public school teacher and coach. "I wish more golfers
would give more back."

Woods closes his weeklong visit to Bragg with a visit to
Stryker. He will do an hour of personal coaching for eight
youngsters from the post, chosen from about 200 who competed for a
spot. Another 76 children will attend a clinic with four local golf
pros and Woods.

The youth clinic will be followed by a skills exhibition for
about 4,300 soldiers, students and invited guests, some of whom won
tickets in a lottery.

Stryker, which opened on the Army post in 1948, was designed by
Donald Ross, one of the top course architects of the last century.

Clarence Gainor, a member at Stryker, was a Green Beret in
Vietnam a bit earlier than Earl Woods. He predicted Tiger will come
through his military experience in fine form.

"He's in good shape and he's young," Gainor said. "It won't
hurt him."