When the doting father in Tiger Woods took over

The Tiger Woods one saw on Tuesday looked refreshingly different – friendly, sounding happy and more importantly, speaking from the heart. The honesty behind the words was hard to miss. The pain that he endured following a back procedure was tough to find on his face.

Tiger Woods and his children after meeting Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez July this year.   -  Twitter/Tiger Woods

The Tiger Woods one saw on Tuesday looked refreshingly different – friendly, sounding happy and more importantly, speaking from the heart. The honesty behind the words was hard to miss. The pain that he endured following a back procedure was tough to find on his face.

Away from matters golfing, a mention his children brought out the doting father out of the man known to respect privacy of his family, Tiger has two children, daughter Sam (10) and son Charlie, (8) from his former wife Elin Nordegren. The parents have joint custody of the children.

In some way, golf took the backseat once Tiger became a father.

Following the latest surgery in April, Tiger was confined to bed for long periods. But on the brighter side, he was able to spend time with his children.

On Tuesday, Tiger reflected on the meeting of Charlie and Sam (along with two of their friends) with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez after FC Barcelona’s friendly match with Real Madrid at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in July. In fact, at that time, Tiger even tweeted a photo of the group, in team jerseys, with the two famed footballers.

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“It’s more Charlie’s, that his idol. He plays FIFA all the time and it’s always Messi, so it’s pretty neat to see my kids, kind of, in awe like that. I thought it was really neat for them to have us back in the locker room just to meet Suarez and a few other guys on the team. It was really a surreal moment for me to step back and watch my kids just really appreciate it.”

When asked whether his children know that he was the “Messi of golf”, Tiger recalled the conversation he had with Sam. “I said, isn’t it great to be a living legend? She said, Yeah, we live with one.”

Tiger continued, “I never thought my kids have understood what I've been able to do in the game of golf because they always think I'm the YouTube golfer. They’ve never seen me in action. Charlie was there at Akron when I won last time, but he doesn't really remember it, he was too young.

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 “So most of the stuff they’ve watched has been on highlight packages. They’ve never seen what I can do on a golf course, and then when I started coming back for this event, Sam wanted to go out on the golf course with me. She just thought it was so cool I was hitting it where she couldn't see it. She said, how do you see that golf ball? I said, it's only going about 320 (yards), just being a complete smartass about it. Charlie’s the same thing, he wants to compete, he wants to play with me. Those are things that are special.”

In fact, these children are part of the motivation that has brought Tiger back on the golf course.

“I want them to see what I’ve been able to do my entire career. I’ve been fortunate enough to play tournament golf for 37 years and I want them to experience some of that, have a better understanding of it.

“I don't know how long I’m going to be playing but I want them to come to a few events, I want them to feel it, I want them to understand it a little bit more.”