Besides his father, another man was initiated into the challenges and obstacles that Tiger Woods faced on his way to becoming, perhaps, the greatest golfer of his time.
Joe Grohman supervised the future Masters champion from the age of 13 to 18 and saw him putting on and practicing eight hours a day until after the course got dark, while being exposed to sickening racism at the golf club where he used his talents.
Former golf specialist Grohman played over 500 golf rounds with Tiger at Navy Golf Course, in Cypress, California, and saw his young protégé grow into a world-class player.
& # 39; He was a world beater, at the age of fourteen he probably could have played a tour, he had a strong grip, a bit creepy in the day, but it was still beautiful. For me I knew we had the best golfer ever, I knew he was the second. I came very close to his family and he, it was great, & told the 54-year-old recalled DailyMail.com.
Unfortunately, his close relationship with Tiger and his father Earl meant that Grohman also witnessed the racism Tiger suffered.
Former golf pro Joe Grohman accompanied Tiger Woods from the age of 13 to 18 years and together they played more than 500 rounds of golf at Navy Golf Course, in Cypress, California. Tiger is depicted in 1990 with Joe at the age of 14
Tiger & # 39; s 15th Masters victory on Sunday ended an 11-year drought for the star and was hailed as the biggest comeback ever in the sport
& # 39; I came very close to his family and him, it was amazing & # 39 ;, Joe told DailyMail.com, pictured with Tiger in 1991 with his parents Kultida and Earl
When Tiger first played the course, a manager stepped in to block him, citing a rule that he should be above 10 – even though the schoolboy was already called the youth world champion.
Grohman said this was just the start of a series of incidents of clear discrimination.
Joe Grohman, 54, said he followed Tiger putt for eight hours a day and practiced until the course went dark
& # 39; It was 100% about racism, & # 39; he said. & # 39; It was only a handful of people who grew up in the time of segregation and they didn't know any better. It was tragic. & # 39;
When Tiger was 15, his mother Kultida wanted to celebrate his second American youth title and brought a tray of Costco pasta to the empty clubhouse for her son, Grohman, and a few other girlfriends to eat – although they were asked to leave and sit outside on chairs covered with bird droppings.
Then at the age of 16, the manager Tiger sent a letter telling him that he had to make a receipt for his rounds and distance balls due to & # 39; countless complaints from the men's and women's club & # 39; that he did not pay for them – despite the fact that it had long been quietly accepted that Grohman would give him for free, so that & # 39; the world's best young golfer could constantly practice.
Grohman said: “I only remember the look on Tiger's face, he didn't believe me, he suddenly felt that the club was against him. I could just see that his heart was broken. & # 39;
When Tiger was 18 and had just won the American Amateur Championship, a retired marine collector unsuccessfully accused Tiger of throwing golf balls into homes and throwing him out.
Grohman was shortly afterwards in the Woods family home and remembered that the atmosphere & # 39; as a mourning center & # 39; used to be. He said: & # 39; Tida said & # 39; & # 39; F *** the Navy, we don't need the damn navy & # 39; & # 39 ;, that was the last drop for her & # 39 ;.
A week later, Tiger called the manager and asked if he wanted to show the Amateur trophy in the club. But the young star was again rejected.
Grohman said: & # 39; That was Tiger & # 39; s last drop.
& # 39; He told me & # 39; & # 39; I called and I didn't even hear back & # 39; & # 39; and the look in his eyes and the way he said it, it was as if someone had hit him in the stomach. & # 39;
Two weeks later, Tiger left for Stanford University and he did not return to that course.
Grohman says that Tiger & # 39; s determination to be the best player in the world was always obvious and that & # 39; measure & # 39; the achievements of pro golfer Jack Nicklaus were
The golf wonder had no friends of his own age and would spend most of his time playing golf with Grohman, the old military friends of Earl and Earl.
When Tiger was 15, his mother Kultida (right) wanted to celebrate his second American youth title and brought a tray of pasta to the empty Marine clubhouse for her son and his friends to eat, but they were asked to leave. & # 39; Tida said & # 39; & # 39; F *** the Navy, we don't need the damn navy & # 39; & # 39 ;, says Grohman
Grohman opened his photo album to share photos of a young Tiger with DailyMail.com to celebrate the incredible comeback victory of his protégé during the 2019 Masters in Augusta on Sunday.
He said: & # 39; This big win is his biggest achievement because of all the setbacks he has come through. It wasn't that long ago that we had the conversation about whether he would ever play golf again.
& # 39; In order for all of your dirty laundry to be aired for the entire planet with its personal problems and then the health issues, to sustain that, it must be its biggest. & # 39;
Tiger & # 39; s incredible 15th win on Sunday ended an eleven-year drought for the star and was hailed as the biggest comeback ever in the sport.
Watching the triumph brought back memories of his first game against a 13-year-old Tiger after Grohman landed a golf pro course on the Navy course in 1989.
Back then, Grohman had never heard of Tiger – who had several Junior World Golf Championship titles in his pocket at the time – so he was shocked when the future star hit him with two shots the first time they played.
The & # 39; polite, shy and modest & # 39; teenager hit the first four greens and pulled out a kitchen fork to restore the divots he made.
Grohman said: & # 39; Every time Tiger took a shot, Earl would rock and be totally unpleasant. He told me & # 39; & # 39; I prepare him for distraction when he goes on tour & # 39; & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I told Tiger & # 39; & # 39; does he really do that every time you hit him? & # 39; & # 39; And he says: & # 39; I don't know, I haven't heard from you in two years & # 39; & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I said & # 39; & # 39; boy, you have to stop kicking my a ** out here & # 39 ;, I was trying to get into his head. It seemed to have the opposite effect.
& # 39; He was friendly and talkative with the guy you saw in Augusta and just crushed me the rest of the way, he took him to a whole different level. & # 39;
This is the clubhouse of the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California, where Tiger Woods played golf as a child and teenager and experienced blatant discrimination, Grohman says
Grohman says it was the death of his father Earl from cancer in May 2006 that led to the fall of the sportswoman by grace and infidelity. & # 39; I think his father's death played a big role in that whole thing. Tiger just stepped aside, & he says. The father and son are depicted after Tiger & # 39; s victory over the 1991 USGA Junior Amateur Championships
This is the Tiger Woods youth home on Teakwood Street in Cypress, California – not far from the golf club where he would play
Grohman remembers how Tiger & # 39; s determination to be the best player in the world was always obvious.
The teenager mapped a magazine with the career of his hero Jack Nicklaus on his bedroom wall so that he could compare his progress.
By the time Tiger was 16 (pictured here at 16 in 1991), he was already ahead of the performance of his golf hero Jack Nicklaus – who uses a young Tiger as his & # 39; benchmark & # 39; for success
Grohman said: & # 39; His goal was to be better than Jack Nicklaus and to be the best golfer ever. Tiger was only 15 or 16 and he was already ahead of Jack. He had a list with Jack & # 39; s performance by age. He said & # 39; & # 39; this is my benchmark. & # 39; & # 39; & # 39;
Grohman, the caddy for his young protégé, found Tiger & # 39; s dedication to the game exceptional. The golf sum had no friends of his own age and just played with Grohman, the old military friends of Earl and Earl.
He said: & # 39; I am a golf addict, but one evening it was so dark that I couldn't see my ball on the t-shirt and even I wanted to go inside and Tiger continue to play. & # 39;
This was not the only sign that Tiger fell outside the norm.
& # 39; I saw him go straight for eight hours, we had a putting green outside the window of my office. He pinned all day and then we went out and played and he opened the first seven holes and there was nothing to type. It was the coolest I had ever seen.
& # 39; Tiger was here every day after school, every weekend. He had no friends. It was always golf for him. I remember thinking that this child is more mature than me. & # 39;
Grohman also had a front row seat for the father-son relationship that was such a crucial factor in Tiger's story.
To him, Earl & # 39; s cancer death in May 2006 was 74 years old, which led to the dramatic fall of the star from the highest point of the sport.
He said: & # 39; I think his father's death played a big role in that whole event. Tiger just stepped aside. & # 39;
If Earl had not died, Grohman could not imagine that Tigers's much-reported marital infidelity would take over his life as they did.
& # 39; I think his fear of disappointing his father, if his father had been alive, would have kept him from much of that behavior, really. & # 39;
However, according to Grohman, Earl & # 39; s own behavior was certainly the fault of Tiger & # 39; s.
Admitting that he was unfaithful to his own wife at the time, Grohman said: & I think that if the two close men of Tiger behaved better and showed more respect for marriage, Tiger probably had a different opinion about it had. I feel that way. & # 39;
Yet he does not blame Earl as a father.
& # 39; As a father there was none better. When he spoke it was always profound. When you were around him, you were just mesmerized, and so was Tiger. & # 39;
Tiger is embraced by his father Earl after winning the Masters golf tournament in 2001. Grohman says: & I think his fear of disappointing his father – if his father had been alive had left him much of that behavior would have stopped, I really do & # 39;
Grohman says that Tiger & # 39; controls his demons & # 39; and & # 39; has proven in the world that he is human and that he has proved that he is superhuman & # 39;
Tiger & # 39; s family – daughter Sam Alexis, Charlie Axel, mother Kultida Woods and girlfriend Erica Herman – were with the 2019 Masters to celebrate the 15th victory Sunday of the golf pro
After Tiger left for Stanford, he and Grohman slowly broke apart and the last time they spoke was at Earl & # 39; s commemoration in 2006.
But Grohman, who is now working as a coach on another course, said Tiger recently told a common friend that he is still thinking about him.
He said: & # 39; People have seen him and they always drop my name, like in the LA Open, someone said: & # 39; Hey tiger Joe Grohman said hello & # 39; and Tiger said: & # 39; Joe really? Tell him he owes me $ 20! & # 39; & # 39 ;, That was funny, I was stoked. & # 39;
Grohman watched Tiger & # 39; s incredible comeback on his TV at his home, and described how it felt to see him make his long-awaited comeback. He said: "Honestly, I couldn't even sit down, I stood and walked like an expectant father, like the rest of the country, I was sure. The entire golf world was absolutely electrified and mesmerized. It was hard to breathe people!
& # 39; When Molinari threw it in the water at 12, I knew it was Tiger & # 39; s tournament, I yelled at my wife & # 39; & # 39; Tiger is going to win the Masters! & # 39; & # 39; & # 39;
Grohman sees a huge change in the attitude of his former protégé.
& # 39; It is clear that he is a friendlier Tiger, he is now in contact with fans, his children are already there on the 18th. He opens himself up to the world a bit more. I absolutely think he controls his demons. It is almost as if he now appreciates the fans more, he appreciates the moment even more.
& # 39; He has proven to the world that he is human and he has proven to the world that he is superhuman. He has just grown up, he is now a father, the lifestyle he led before I think he no longer exists.
& # 39; He is 43, he is no longer going to clubs and getting into trouble, plus everything he has experienced, it was a test with fire, he had to change his ways whether he waved again or not. & # 39;