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BARKLEY GETS WOODS TO TALK ABOUT RACE

How much discrimination did Tiger Woods face growing up in Southern California in the 1980s as a mixed-race person in a mostly white man's game?

In all his time at golf's center stage, Woods, whose father, Earl, is black, and whose mother, Kultida, is Thai, has never said much beyond acknowledging, yes, there were times when he felt unwelcome or heard racial epithets.

But Woods did open up more to his friend Charles Barkley for the former 76er's new book, "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?" a literary tour-de-Charles on racism, affirmative action, interracial love and racial stereotypes.

As a youngster, learning the game at a Navy golf course, Woods said the "N-word" got dropped on him numerous times.

"I had people who were old -- and I don't know if they were servicemen or retired or active, or guests . . . I don't know who they were," Woods was quoted as saying.

If he was chipping, someone would yell at him to go over to the putting green; on the putting green, he'd get yelled at to move again.

"These are things that obviously hardened me a little bit and made me realize that golf was not like basketball or football at the time," Woods said. "It was different, under different rules. Even traveling the country as a kid, I wasn't allowed to go to certain pro shops or certain clubhouses to change shoes where all the other kids were allowed to."

Woods said even as late as 1994, on that same Navy course, when he was practicing for what would be his first U.S. Amateur title, "Some guy just yelled over the fence and used the 'N-word' numerous times at me."

As Barkley notes in his book, he has razzed Woods over the years for not talking more about his experiences growing up and for not taking stronger stands on racial issues.

"I've also teased him, when we talk about his multiracial background, that we know people see him as black because Thai people don't get as much hate mail as he does," Barkley wrote.

For all the credit Woods' father has received, it was his mother, Woods reminds Barkley, who drilled into him discipline, responsibility and respect for others, especially his elders.

"A Far Eastern culture, as anyone who has experienced it knows, is very strict," Woods said. "You never did anything to bring dishonor on your family."

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