World number one golfer Tiger Woods of the United States is in the nation's capital this week, set to host the inaugural AT&T National in suburban Bethesda, Maryland. He met with the media in his pre-tournament news conference Tuesday at Congressional Country Club and VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was there.
No less than 20 television cameras were in the packed media room and Tiger Woods answered questions for about 40 minutes. Many were about his new daughter Sam Alexis, born to wife Elin the day after last month's U.S. Open ended.
Tiger explained where the name came from.
"My father had always called me Sam since the day I was born. It's weird. He rarely ever called me Tiger," he said. "I would ask him, 'Why don't you ever call me Tiger?' He says, 'Well, you look more like a Sam.' I said, 'All right, that's cool.'"
Tiger said he feels somewhat guilty for being here, away from his new baby, but added both his mother and Elin's mother are at his home in Florida helping his wife out.
Baby Sam had been expected to arrive in early July, and if she had, Tiger would not have played in this tournament. Instead, fans in the Washington area will be treated to his first competitive rounds - beginning Thursday - since he played here 10 years ago at the U.S. Open.
One hundred and 20 players are in the field for the inaugural AT&T National, including five of the top six ranked players in the world.
Tiger said he admires his compatriot and rival Phil Mickelson, who is ranked second. He has struggled lately with a wrist injury but he elected to come play in this event hosted by Woods.
"I understand that he wants to get a competitive tournament in before he plays the British Open [later in the month], but for him to come in and choose this one, it just makes it very special for us, because obviously Phil has got all the talent in the world and is having a great year," Woods said. "Just unfortunately he's got some issues with the wrist. But hey, the definitely heals."
The AT&T National will benefit The Tiger Woods Foundation and pay tribute to the men and women in the Armed Forces. Tiger Woods wanted to honor his father, a decorated Vietnam veteran who died last year. All active duty military personal will get into the tournament free, as will all children under age 12.
Tiger said he probably would have gone into the military had he not become a professional golfer. He added because of his father, he was motivated to, in his way, acknowledge American soldiers.
"If I didn't have that experience growing up with a military father, I wouldn't think that I quite would understand the commitment and the things that they have been doing, and especially what's been going on overseas," he said. "I think it's just a small way of saying thank you."
And of course Tiger Woods would like nothing better than to win the first edition of this golf tournament he is hosting.