If you watch one thing this weekend, then it has to be the above interview from Trans World Sport in 1990 with a 14-year-old Tiger Woods. I mean, wow, it’s mind-blowing.
Tiger is incredibly insightful and intelligent, not to mention candid. And of course, there’s this wonderful sense of youth and innocence.
I recommend watching the entire interview and wait until the end — for his comments on race and the Augusta National.
Some bits that stood out:
Q: Not so many years ago, it would have been hard for black kids to play golf in certain places and people like Jim Thrope and Lee Elder blazed the trail in some ways. Do you feel any kind of pressure and prejudice — golf is quite often seen as an upperclass white game. Did you ever feel that?
TW: Oh, every day. Not every day, but every time I go to a major country club. You can always feels it. You can sense it. People are always staring are you. Why are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here. When I go to Texas or Florida, you always feel it because they are saying, why are you here? You’re not supposed to be here. That’s probably because that’s where all the slavery was.
Q: Do you think you could change that?
TW: Yes. Since I’m black, I might be even bigger than Jack Nickalus — I might be even bigger than him…to the blacks. I might be like a Michael Jordan in basketball.
Q: What part of your game makes you such a good player?
TW: My competitiveness. That sort of brings me through in the clutch. When you have to make a putt, you make a putt. When you have to hit this shot, you hit this shot. You sort of drop into another zone and block out everything. That’s really helped me.
What an insightful kid, huh?
We give Tiger a hard time because I guess — pardon the cliche — with great talent and power (and money and fame) come great responsibility and it’s the (ugh, hate all these hackneyed sayings) price you pay, as they say. But we all know he’s truly an amazing athlete who has trascended societal and cultural norms and done a hell of a lot for the game of golf — there’s still a ways to go, but his impact has been unquestionably revolutionary.