The price of fame

OAKMONT (Pennsylvania): Perhaps the most famous photo of Jack Nicklaus as a father came from the 1973 US PGA Championship. 

He had just completed a 68 in the second round at Canterbury when four-year-old Gary, the fourth of his five children, ran onto the green and into his arms. Nicklaus walked off the 18th green clutching his son with one hand and his putter with the other. 

Two days later, he won the US PGA to break the record for most majors. 

Don't expect that to happen to Tiger Woods. 

Fatherhood won't stop or even slow his pursuit of Nicklaus' 18 professional majors. Woods already has shown that life-changing moments, such as marriage or the death of his father, haven't changed a thing about his dominance in the game. 

Far more difficult to imagine is a warm and fuzzy photo of his family in public. 

Woods became a father on Monday when his wife, Elin, gave birth to a daughter they named Sam Alexis Woods.  

“Pictures of Sam Alexis Woods will be made available shortly,'' it said beneath a short note from Woods. 

The big question is when anyone will see this child in public. 

Woods can rarely go anywhere at a golf tournament without getting pounded by the press and the public, and sometimes his peers. 

He draws such a clear line between private and public that Woods won't reveal his schedule until a week before a given tournament. He doesn't let anyone except his friends inside his home, even before he got married. The name of his yacht says it all – “Privacy.'' 

Imagine how much more protective he will be of his daughter, or any other children who follow. 

Eight years ago, Phil Mickelson was about to become a father when he missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Pinehurst No. 2 that would have forced a playoff against Payne Stewart. His daughter was born the next afternoon. 

Everyone knows the Mickelson children because they are dressed to the nines when they run out to the 18th. 

The only time Elin Woods was a prominent part of the picture was last summer at Hoylake, and only because Woods was a blubbering mess of tears having captured his first victory since the death of his father. 

Elin once talked about wives and children going out to the 18th green to celebrate victory, and while she thought it was “very cool,'' she had a hard time doing it herself because “it's just not my personality.'' 

For other players, children are part of their careers, traveling to tournaments, caddying at the par three Tournament at the Masters. 

Ernie Els wants his eight-year-old daughter Samantha to watch him play at least nine holes during the weekend so she has an understanding of what he does for a living.  

Few moments were more charming than the American Express Championship in Ireland in 2004, when Samantha had a sketch book, like her mother, drawing pictures of every hole Els played. 

Els was working his way up the leaderboard in the third round, walking up the eighth fairway, when Samantha pressed up against the ropes and waved wildly, as if she were watching a parade. 

Woods is so protective of his private life, it is difficult to imagine allowing his child or children to be at a tournament lest they feel part of the circus. 

That's something Nicklaus never faced.  

His stardom came during the era of Sports Illustrated, not People magazine. 

Nicklaus had to cope with Palmer, Trevino and Watson. 

Woods has Nikon, Canon and Kodak. – AP  

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