Tiger's Niece: Family Links

Preparing for her first pro golf tournament, Cheyenne Woods received a call from her uncle, who had some advice. He told her to “work hard, stay focused,” she says. If your uncle were Tiger Woods, you’d listen carefully too. So what else did he say? ” ‘Kick butt!’ He always tells me to kick butt.”

The same week Tiger Woods tied Jack Nicklaus’s 73-win record, the pro golf world saw what could be the launch of a family dynasty. On June 7, just weeks after earning a communications degree from Wake Forest University, Cheyenne, 21, makes her professional debut at the Wegmans LPGA Tournament in Rochester, N.Y. “[It’s] exciting to see how she’s grown,” Tiger said in an online chat. “I’m just so proud of her on so many different levels.”

Like Uncle Tiger, Cheyenne picked up her first golf clubs at age 2-in fact, they were Woods’s old sawed-down set-under the tutelage of her grandfather Earl Woods Sr. Neither her dad, Tiger’s half-brother Earl Jr., nor her mom, Susan, plays golf. But her grandfather, who died in 2006, had seen in Cheyenne the same spark he had recognized in Tiger, and by age 10 she won her first national juniors title. Soon she was filling notebooks practicing her autograph. “I never imagined myself doing anything but golf,” she admits.

But Cheyenne, who grew up in Phoenix with a poster of her uncle in her bedroom, ignores any public comparisons to him. “I try to block it out and play my own game.” They differ on the course in that “he is extremely intense, and if you see me out there, I’m talking to my competitors and laughing. I’m very laid-back.”

Both play to win, however, and not just in golf. “I’m a huge Ping-Pong player,” says Cheyenne, who is looking for a match the next time they get together. “He tries to talk like he’s good, but we’ll see.”

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