Everywhere Tiger Woods goes, he draws a huge crowd. While recently promoting his video game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, he saw firsthand how crazy the throng could be. “This is abnormal,” he confided to PEOPLE after navigating through a sea of fans who were trying to give him high-fives and snapping his picture. “Everything else about my life is very normal. I do the same things everyone else does.”
(Note to Tiger: “Everyone else” doesn’t play video golf with Jimmy Fallon in Times Square, backing up traffic and drawing more than a thousand screaming fans.)
In a rare quiet moment, Woods sat down with PEOPLE for a candid interview to discuss family and fatherhood, including the lessons he learned from his late dad, Earl Woods, who died of cancer in 2006.
Woods, who missed much of the last golf season due to a knee injury, tells PEOPLE that he used the break to spend time more solid, quality with his then 1-year-old daughter, Sam.
“We’re different than other sports in the fact that we don’t spend half our season at home. We’re always on the road,” he explains. “I got a chance to be around her all the time, so that was a huge bonus.”
While rehabbing his knee, Woods played games with Sam, whom he describes as “very active.” They also sang songs and even tried to play video games. (“It didn’t work,” says Woods. “She was too young.”) And the video games weren’t simply for fun: Woods credits the hours he spent playing his own computer game on the Wii Fit with getting him back in shape.
Despite the time off from golf, Woods recalls the forced hiatus as a happy time: His wife Elin was pregnant with son Charlie Axel, now 4 months old. Sam was going through the cute toddler phase, and Woods got a chance to reconnect with friends and family. “I would have missed a lot,” says Woods, who won the AT&T National earlier this month.
The only downside? The absence of Woods’s father, Earl. “I think of him every day,” says Woods simply. “He taught me everything.” Including golf.
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