He never raised a putter or swung a club on a professional tour.
But he’s still among those responsible for changing the game of golf forever.
Earl Woods, the father who instilled the love of life and golf in his son Tiger, died of cancer Wednesday. The elder Woods was just 74 years old.
Woods exposed his young son to what Mark Twain famously called “a good walk ruined”, helping the obviously talented youngster to go from a golfing enthusiast to a whiz kid and what many consider the best who ever took up a club.
It was Woods who made sure his son stayed on an even keel, overcoming prejudice often endemic to the sport on a professional level, and keeping his values solid, even as he obtained staggering levels of success.
"I saw the total package,” the proud dad once recalled. “I saw his intelligence, I saw his personality, I saw his creativity, I saw his athleticism, I saw his ability to learn so fast and
rapidly and his desire, his competitiveness, he had all that stuff when he was two.”
But Woods would be criticized for pushing the boy too hard and not letting him have the kind of childhood every youngster should experience.
He noted those remarks ended as Tiger ascended to the top of his field.
"I don't need to feel vindicated,” he observed. “It's sufficient for me to know that other people now know what I knew all along.”
Tiger agrees he owes much of his career to his father.
"My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply," he writes on his website.
"I'm overwhelmed when I think of all of the great things he accomplished in his life. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend. I wouldn't be where I am today without him, and I'm honoured to continue his legacy of sharing and caring."
Woods was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1988, and appeared to beat the disease using radiation.
But it came back in 2004 and quickly spread, leaving doctors unable to do any more for him.
Woods was a fixture at nearly all of Tiger's tournaments but made fewer appearances as his health deteriorated.
He was too ill to see his son take to the links one last time, when he played at last month’s Masters. His son finished the prestigious tournament tied for third.