Golfer Carol Mann: Tiger Woods Is Learning To Become a Human Being

LPGA Hall of Famer Carol Mann, the featured speaker at today's 2010 Lunch With a Legend series, said it took her until she was in her late 20s to start becoming a human being -- a metamorphosis that she says fellow golfer Tiger Woods is just embarking upon now.

Mann, who has 38 Ladies Professional Golf Association titles to her name, retired in 1981 and still teaches in The Woodlands, said she came from a dysfunctional family, many of whose members had chemical addictions. And even though she was winning so many tournaments, she had a great void in her life.

"Two weeks ago you watched Tiger Woods stand before a microphone as you did and you heard him speak about not wanting to look at this part of his life. Well of course you don't. Because it's the part you can't control," she said to the audience at the benefit lunch for The Women's Home, which provides training and housing for women in crisis.

"I identified greatly with Tiger. Not his money, of course, and not with his addiction, and not his status," she said to general laughter.

What she identified with was being what she called "vacant." In 1969 she'd just won her eighth tournament of the year and her 18th tournament win in two years, but there was nothing else in her life. "I was an achiever but that's all I could do," she  said. "In 1970, I was 29 years old. I started my trip of becoming a human being. And that's what Tiger Woods is doing. He's learning how to become a human being and being accountable for it."

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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