FORT BRAGG (North Carolina): Fresh from the land of green jackets, 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 on 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, South Carolina, 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 US$90mil 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.'' – AP