Tida Woods in Thailand
Watch a narrated slideshow and hear Senior Staff Photographer Dom Furore describe Tida Woods' latest trip to Thailand.
Released on 3/7/2010
[Narrator] Several years ago I had an assignment
to go photograph a teenager that was supposedly
gonna be the next great player.
He seemed like a nice enough kid,
but what really impressed me were
how nice his parents were.
Who'd a thought that 17 years later
I'd be tagging along a trip to Thailand with his mom.
I was going to Thailand with Jaime Diaz,
who was working on a story with Golf Digest about Tita.
Along with the usual tourist stops,
we were gonna be checking in on a couple of schools
that Tita and Tiger had been helping out.
We spent a lot of time driving around in our van,
and it turns out that Bangkok
is one of the worst cities in the world for traffic.
Sometimes it could be a bit boring,
but Tita always kept it fun.
We went to the Grand Palace,
and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha,
which is the most sacred temple in Thailand.
It was full of ornate statues,
and beautiful mosaics everywhere you looked.
And of course it is also the home of the Emerald Buddha,
which is actually made of Jade, not Emerald.
One day we stopped by to visit her oldest brother,
and there was a very American looking
hat hanging on the coat rack.
We visited a nearby temple that had actually been designed
by her father, who was an architect,
but it'd only recently been finished,
after Tiger had made a donation.
One night a friend a friend of Tita's
stopped by the hotel and she brought
sticky rice and mango with her,
which became our standard dessert in Thailand.
She also brought along some unusual looking fruit,
it's what I started calling freaky fruit.
We spent time going to markets,
and there was always fresh fruit for sale there,
along with jewelry
and fresh seafood.
Fresh seafood was very popular
in all the restaurants we went to,
and when you ordered fish soup,
that's exactly what you got.
Tita grew up near the bridge over the River Kwai,
so we went by there to take a look.
We walked across the bridge and when I looked back
it seemed odd to see a red shirt following Tita
instead of Tita following a red shirt.
We also by the cemetery where the Americans
that died there are buried.
The Woods family has helped a few schools
in Thailand over the years,
and one of them is an orphanage for girls.
Needless to say they were very happy to see Tita show up.
One of the things that the school did
for food and for profit was grow mushrooms.
They put the mushroom spawns inside
these little plastic bags with some organic material,
and then they would stack them up insisde
these giant straw huts and wait for the mushrooms to grow.
All the girls and staff turned out to greet Tita,
and the truck that she had arranged
to bring supplies for them.
At all the schools we stopped at,
there was always evidence of the Woods family.
Some of it fun, and some of it a little more practical.
At one school they'd installed a computer lab,
and they all seemed pretty excited to learn how to use them.
But they all knew who Tiger was,
and they were all happy that he knew who they were.
We also stopped by a home for disadvantaged kids,
and they were very happy to see Tita as well,
especially when she started handing out the candy.
And of course, along with the candy
she brought a truckload of supplies for the orphanage.
One night she told me she had
a big surprise for me the next day.
She told me that we were going
to a place called Tiger Temple.
That she'd seen pictures of Earl with a tiger,
and she'd seen pictures of Tiger with a tiger,
and now it was time to get a picture of Mom with a tiger.
As soon as I got back to my room I googled it,
and I didn't like what I read.
A lot of people questioned the safety of the place
and the treatment of the tigers.
When we went inside there were animals roaming everywhere.
One of the things that I had read
was to be careful of the younger tigers,
that they don't know their own strength
and they can be a little too playful.
Of course my mistake was telling Tita that.
She walked up to one that looked like he was napping
and started playing with him,
and when he rolled over and took a swat at her, she laughed.
She's absolutely fearless.
We headed down the trail to the Tiger Canyon,
which is where the big tigers were.
I slipped some cash to the guy
that seemed to be running things
to make sure we had the best trainers in back of us
while I was taking the pictures.
I knew if anything happened to her
I could be killed by a tiger.
We were in Thailand during the Festival of Lights,
and one night we went on a dinner cruise.
Along with a parade of lighted boats and fireworks,
there was entertainment on board
and views of the buildings and bridges along the river.
Our last night in Thailand
Tita took us to a friend's house for a dinner party.
Everyone seemed to gravitate towards her,
and just like her son,
everybody wanted to get their picture taken with her.
One of the traditions of the Festival of Lights
is making a float out of banana leaves
or floral arrangements and putting a candle on it
and setting it on the water and watching it float away.
I wanted to get a nice picture of that,
so I took my stand in down and did a quick test shot
before everybody came down with their candles.
I've always said Tiger Woods
is one of the luckiest guys I've ever known,
and after spending some time with his mom,
I believe that now more than ever.