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Happy Holidays From The Woods

Tiger as Santa? The holiday season at the Woods' is full of cheer and surprises

Tiger Woods and family

Tiger and family at the dedication of the statue honoring his father at the Tiger Woods Learning Center.

December 23, 2008

Professional golf's most famous father-to-be is anxiously awaiting the birth of his second child, but that's certainly not the complete story, not with Christmas just around the corner.

Tiger Woods can't wait until he can dress up as Santa Claus.

"What dad wouldn't do that? That's what makes Christmas fun."

Sam Alexis Woods is a year and a half old and she will be celebrating her second Christmas, but by this time next year, she's going to have company under the tree and the lights. The second child of Tiger and Elin Woods is expected in February, so the sight of dad in a red Santa suit, black boots and a full white beard can't be far off.

Tiger got that Santa suit idea from his father, Earl, who instilled in his son the warm notion that holidays are important, especially holidays with family. Woods said Christmas with two children is sure to enrich the moment, not that Christmas with Sam has been anything less than a bundle of bliss.

It's a simple truth, nothing short of an understatement, but that doesn't make it any less true: Christmas is for kids, and the parents share in the joy, even the dad happens to be named Tiger Woods.

"It means more, there's no doubt," he said. "It probably doesn't mean quite as much as it is going to in the future because Sam doesn't know what Christmas is yet. She likes the boxes and the rustling of the paper like all kids do.

"When our kids become an age when they start realizing what Christmas is, then you can dress up like Santa and do all the fun things."

Being parents for the first time was something both Woods and Elin savored. Remember when Elin dressed Sam in Tiger-like red at Torrey Pines when Woods won the U.S. Open in June? If that was Sam's introduction to the grand stage of world-class golf, Sam was her own introduction to her folks' parenthood. Woods said he's been on a swift learning curve because of Sam and that has prepared him for the birth of his second child. He did not hesitate when asked the biggest thing he's learned to anticipate?

"Lack of sleep," Woods said. "But, really, after having Sam, Elin and I know what to expect. We're excited, really excited.

"We're definitely ready. Well, Elin is a lot more ready than I am."

The stories written about their relationship could fill a library, so it is no secret that Earl Woods showered Tiger with advice. But not all of it pertained to golf. Even now, Woods easily recalls the greatest words of counsel that father offered him about the role of a parent.

"It's the biggest responsibility, the biggest undertaking you ever have in your life. If you decide to bring a child into this world, it's yours to take care of. And it's a lot of work, but it's also then again one of the most rewarding things you've ever done."

Chances are it's going to be a busy few months for Woods, with Christmas, then blowing out the 33 candles on his birthday cake five days later, then a New Year beginning, a new baby, and then a new start to what will be Woods' 13th full year on the PGA Tour.

There will be some surprises, because there always are, but the Woods family expects a very large one soon. Woods said he and Elin don't know if Sam is getting a brother or a sister, and that's all according to plan.

"We didn't find out the first one, we're not going to find out with this one, either," he said. "It's one of life's great surprises, you know. No matter what is, if it's a boy or girl, you're going to be so happy that it's healthy. That's all that matters."

Now that's a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas, plus a Happy New Year, all rolled into February.

Thomas Bonk is a regular contributor to Golf Digest Digital.

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