Originally posted on Player Perspective  |  Last updated 4/4/12

ESPN’s Rick Reilly writes a story that paints yet another complex (and sort of negative) picture of Tiger Woods. Reilly quotes Tiger’s half siblings as saying they haven’t had contact with Tiger since their father died 6 years ago despite leaving numerous voice messages and even having one of Tiger’s nieces visit him for Thanksgiving.

“I leave messages,” Earl Jr. says. “I leave updates on Kevin, but for whatever reason I don’t get a response. … Kevin loves Tiger. A call from Tiger would really pump Kevin up. When he doesn’t call, it just makes him feel worse.”

Earl Jr., Kevin and sister Royce are the children of Earl Woods and Barbara Gary, of Kansas. They’re 20, 18 and 17 years older than Tiger, who is the offspring of Earl’s second marriage, to Kultida Punsawad. Though they lived in different houses, the four kids visited often and say they remained close until Tiger turned “about 15 or 16,” Earl Jr. says. “But the more universal Tiger got, the less we heard from him.”

Royce, who also lives in San Jose, stayed close with Tiger during his two years in college, fixing him meals and doing his laundry. In thanks, Tiger bought her a house. But since the funeral, none of them have been able to contact him.

“I would live in a shack,” Royce told author Tom Callahan for his 2010 book “His Father’s Son,” “literally a shack, if I could have my relationship with my brother back.”

According to the article, Tiger’s brother Kevin is suffering from an undisclosed serious illness and is on the verge of losing his house.

“We haven’t asked Tiger for a dime,” says Earl Jr., who lives in Phoenix. “Not even tickets to a tournament. But Kevin’s losing his home. He needs a caregiver and he can’t have a caregiver and keep his home at the same time. And we can’t do that, we don’t have the means. He can’t move into Royce’s house because of the stairs. And he’s got a dog.

“Nobody’s asking for money here, but [a caregiver] really would be nice for Kevin. It would make Kevin comfortable. He wouldn’t have to leave his house. … But we’d at least like to be able to find out how Tiger is, to find out if he’s OK, and to let him know if we’re OK.”

A spokesman for Tiger said that he’s preparing for the Masters and wouldn’t be returning my call to talk about it.

Obviously, it would be great for Tiger to at least help his brother resolve the house and caretaker issue. Even as just a gesture in his father’s memory.  On the other hand, I’m really hesitant to judge this situation just because I do know how complicated familial relationships can be. And I’ve also seen how so many athletes get sucked into taking care of everyone.  I’m really at a loss as to what to think about this. But I thought the article was at least worth passing on.

I also thought this GQ piece that argues that Tiger hasn’t really become a better person despite a lot of motivation to do so worth reading as well. It gets me thinking about one of my favorite topics: how much you can know about people from such a distance.

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