MONTREAL, Sep 27 (Reuters) Although driven to become the best golfer possible, world number one Tiger Woods is not going to sacrifice his family for his work.
When this week's Presidents Cup team competition at Royal Montreal Golf Club ends on Sunday, Woods will put away his clubs and forget about golf for the next two and a half months.
Fatherhood is still something of a novelty for the 31-year-old American, whose Swedish wife Elin gave birth to their first child, Sam Alexis, in mid-June.
Life on the road for any professional sports figure can be lonely and Woods has decided to take the longest break of his career to spend quality time with his wife and daughter.
''It's not seeing her (Sam) every day and helping Elin,'' the 13-times major champion said of his biggest regret while playing on the U.S. PGA Tour over the last three months.
''We don't have nannies and we don't have any other help.
When I'm at home, I can help but when I'm not there, Elin's being a complete stud about it and doing it all on her own.
''You feel guilty for not being there, for not helping out.
But we want to do it ourselves. We don't want anyone helping raise our child because it's our child.'' Money is hardly an obstacle for Woods who, according to Forbes magazine, is the world's biggest-earning sportsman.
Arguably the greatest golfer in history and probably the most recognisable athlete on the planet, Woods made around million last year.
PRIME FACTOR Family values, however, are a prime factor in his make-up and it comes as no surprise that he and Elin choose to live their domestic life as normally as possible.
A single child, Woods benefited from a loving, tightly knit home environment with his mother Kultida and father Earl, who died last year after a long battle with cancer.
Now that he has a child of his own, Woods is determined to Provide a similar haven for Sam Alexis.
''I try to be as understanding as possible,'' he said. ''Both of my parents were extremely understanding, although my mom was certainly a lot more feisty than my dad.
''My dad was the calming one, very level-headed and very cool.
My mom's very emotional. I'm more like my dad in that regard.'' An intensely private man who craves the anonymity now denied him, Woods lights up when asked questions about his daughter.
He visibly relaxes and flashes his trademark smile as he gives his reply: ''It's been fantastic to have Sam Alexis part of our life, a dream come true for Elin and me.
''On our first night, we both said: 'How can you love something so much that didn't exist the day before?' We've never experienced anything like that and it's something we want to experience again.'' TIME MANAGEMENT Comfortably the best player of his generation, Woods is known for his astute time management and ability to peak for golf's biggest events.
He competes in around 20 tournaments a year, fewer than most of his rivals, and generally winds down his playing schedule after the final major, the PGA Championship in August.
''It's just time management and understanding where your priorities are,'' he said. ''Our priorities are Sam. That's the number one priority and you work out everything else from there.'' World number two Phil Mickelson, like Woods a proud family man, also restricts his late-season schedule to spend more time at home with his wife Amy and their three children.
Many of the game's top players, however, compete in at least 30 events each year, and not always on the same continent.
Globe-trotting South African Ernie Els covers more miles in his private jet than any of his rivals, yet he and his wife Liezl appear to juggle their time better than most.
''I think our kids see more of Ernie than normal families get to see of their fathers,'' Liezl, mother of eight-year-old Samantha and four-year-old Ben, told Reuters.
''We have a very privileged life and, as a family, we try to travel as much as we can. Whenever there's a half-term or a holiday, we're on the road with them.
''The kids miss more but I try to join Ernie for say three days of a tournament so that he has some family support and to ensure that we're never apart for too long.'' REUTERS YA RK0843