According to ESPN’s Rick Reilly, Tiger Woods has not spoken with three of his half-siblings since the death of their father, Earl Woods, six years ago. And no, Tiger doesn’t come off looking too good in this one.
Earl Jr., Kevin and sister Royce are the children of Earl Woods and Barbara Gary, of Kansas, and are 20, 18 and 17 years older than Tiger. Tiger is the product of Earl Woods’ second marriage to Kultida Punsawad.
Prior to their father’s death, the half-siblings had a relationship with Tiger — when he was at Stanford, Royce would cook for him and do his laundry, and in return Tiger bought her a house. As Reilly notes, they’ve been relatively quiet throughout Woods’ tumultuous last few years, and while others who have only been peripheral characters in Tiger’s life have inked tell-all book deals, Earl Jr., Kevin and Royce Woods have not.
Now, however, the relationship is nonexistent, and Kevin Woods — who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009 — can’t work, can’t afford a caregiver, and is in danger of losing his home because of his rapidly deteriorating condition.
According to Tiger’s half-siblings, when they try to contact him he doesn’t return their calls. Reilly says that when he reached out to Tiger for comment on the story he was told that Woods was busy preparing for The Masters (Woods is media-averse, especially in the lead-up to Augusta, so that part is not a surprise). Reilly throws in a note about Woods’ charitable acts (his Tiger Woods foundation has reached “millions of young people around the world”) so as not to completely paint him as The Worst Person Ever. But he also leads off with this image…
In San Jose, Calif., this week, Kevin Woods will sit in his wheelchair a few feet from his television, watching his half-brother play the Masters. He has to. He can’t see otherwise.
…so that kind of evens things out.
According to Earl Jr., who is definitely the most embittered half-sibling, Tiger’s father was the “bonding agent” who kept his kids in contact with each other. But since his death, their contact with Tiger has been nil.
“I’d like to [slap] Tiger, wake him up,” he says. “I’d like to say, ‘Don’t come knocking on the door when you need a bone-marrow transplant.’ To see this is the response we get? Maybe when you see the world like he does, you don’t see what other people are going through. But, seriously? You’ve got problems with your knee? That’s nothing compared to what Kevin is going through. Nothing.”