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Woods to Get Bragg Rites

Tiger will test his fitness after the Masters with four days of military training.

March 17, 2004|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Tiger Woods is joining the Army. Well, for four days anyway.

Woods will trade his golf clothes for fatigues for four days of military training at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, beginning April 12, the day after the Masters. Woods' father, Earl, ultimately a Green Beret in Vietnam, went through basic training there.

No matter how rigorous the training might be, Woods is ready, according to Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at IMG.

"Whatever they do, he's going to do," Steinberg said Tuesday. "He said, 'I don't want them changing anything for me.' This is something he's always wanted to do.

"He's taken great pride in how he's reshaped his body the last few years and he's excited about the entire experience of the training."

As for the timing, right after the Masters, Steinberg said it would be fine.

"It's certainly better after the Masters than before."

Steinberg said neither he nor Woods, 28, was worried about injuries or the need to protect a sports entity who brings in more than $100 million a year and commands a $3-million appearance fee overseas.

"We'll take all the necessary precautions," Steinberg said. "You can always worry. You can worry about him going scuba diving too."

This will be Woods' second military experience in slightly more than five weeks. Two weeks ago, he and Mark O'Meara visited personnel of the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 7 in the Persian Gulf, where the ship was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Woods and O'Meara were playing a tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Woods' foundation will conduct a junior clinic April 16 at Ft. Bragg, and he and his father will put on an exhibition for the 4,000 troops.

"I am very proud of Tiger for supporting our troops and honoring the sacrifice they make and their families make for our country," Earl Woods said.

Woods this week is trying to win the Bay Hill Invitational in Florida for a record fifth consecutive year.

According to Steinberg, Woods, who has won 40 PGA Tour events and made more than $40 million in seven full seasons as a pro, is also beginning to prove he moves in many more circles than some might expect.

"People are really starting to see he's a pretty diverse individual," Steinberg said. "He's not just golf. There are a lot of other things that make him tick, and this is one of them."

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