Speaking at a media day for next month’s Deutsche Bank Championship on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods has attributed his competitive drive, and mental toughness, to the ‘needle’ he received at the hands of his father’s military buddies.
“A lot of the friends that my Dad had met were part of Special Forces, or the Special Forces community,” said the 38-year-old.
“For me, I got a chance to basically grow up in that type of culture, and that's what I saw. That's what I lived with.
“These guys had gone through the ringer and back. I saw that work ethic up front, wide eyed, and a little punk kid. They kept me in line, trust me, they definitely kept me in line.
"They were trying to get in my head.” - Tiger Woods
“I got needled every single time, every day. It was always a constant needling, constant badgering.
“It was also to toughen me up, as well, that was fine, I knew what they were trying to do. They were trying to get in my head.
“Eventually I learned how to get in their head with my game. It all came back around.”
How does Tiger Woods stay motivated?
After winning $109,504,139 in prize money in a career spanning 18 seasons on tour, with a total of 105 worldwide victories to his name, Tiger Woods maintains one thing keeps him motivated: “Winning more. I thoroughly enjoy that.”
Thanks to the mentality installed in him from an early age, Woods says it’s just always been that way.
"The whole idea was to beat everyone in that event.” - Tiger Woods
“That's why I played from a very young age,” said Tiger. “I've always been a person that likes to compete. I tried other team sports. I played baseball. I even ran track and cross‑country in high school. But I just didn't find the same love as I did in golf. I kept coming back to golf.
“Some events were five-holes when I was a little kid, some were 18, and eventually became 72-hole events. But the whole idea was to beat everyone in that event.”
It seems Woods – who won five times last year – is keen to pass on the same desire for success to his kids.
“I've got a little five-year-old right now that is really pushing me pretty hard,” he said.
“He wants to beat me in everything - and that said - I was able to kick his butt in putt putt. I've shown him how to get it done.”
Tiger Woods gears up for Firestone
Last year the American won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone GC, Ohio, by seven-shots. Tiger also holds the course record, and the 72-hole record at Firestone, not to mention eight tiles. This time around he’s just as confident as ever.
“Is there any added pressure coming into this event? No. I've won in this event eight times, so I know how to play under various conditions, various circumstances, various fields,” said Woods.
“I've been able to get it done eight different times in my career.”