Tiger Woods proud of fitness legacy
US golfer Tiger Woods plays a shot during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates, on January 31, 2014 - by Karim Sahib
Speaking after firing a third round of 70 at the Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday, the 38-year-old American said his own family background convinced him of the need to be fit in order to win.
A child prodigy in southern California, Woods was introduced to golf before the age of two by his athletic father Earl, a single-figure handicap amateur golfer who had been one of the earliest African-American college baseball players at Kansas State University.
Woods' arrival on the pro scene in 1996 brought him almost immediate success and his muscular frame was in stark contrast to many of the silhouettes of top golfers in those days as he recalled.
"Most golfers have been fat and out of shape and they don't treat it as a sport," he said.
"I grew up running track and cross-country and playing baseball and if you didn't train, you got your butt kicked.
"That's a big difference, growing up with other sporting backgrounds where you have to train in order to compete and win.
"I just took the same philisophy and applied it to golf and had a pretty good career so far."
Ironically, part of Woods' problems over the last few years have been the consquences of the physical demands he places on his body hitting a golf ball.
His knees, back and wrists have all failed him recently and he complained at the end of last year of feeling tired after a hectic schedule from the British Open in July onwards.
But after a winter break, Woods said in Dubai that he started the year fully fit and ready to continue his chase after the 18 majors record haul of Jack Nicklaus. He is currently four short.