Tiger Woods, 42, has never really seen himself as one of the “brothers,” perhaps because of his multiracial lineage. But many within the Black community have certainly claimed him as one of our own, rooting for him to win whenever he strolled onto the verdant grass of the world’s most exclusive golf courses — like David going after the Goliaths of the game.
We long admired the very close and intense relationship he shared with his father, Earl Woods, who began to teach his son the fundamentals of golf before he’d even reached his first birthday — coaching and encouraging him as his abilities continued to develop. Theirs was a special relationship, although there would be disruptions in their friendship due to the senior Woods’ propensity for engaging in extramarital relationships — something that hurt Tiger to the core.
But when Earl Woods died in 2006, it’s reported that Tiger found it difficult to move on without his beloved father, mentor and friend by his side. Thus began the slow but steady decline in Tiger’s life — a series of losses that included, first the death of his father, but soon included his focus, his desire and eventually his ability to win.
Multiple instances of poor decisions on Tiger’s part, all of which became fodder for the media, cast him in a negative light. Meanwhile the world around him began to grow more and more dark. In 2013, he won his last tournament, after which he began to be besieged with health challenges and mental and emotional setbacks which signaled the end to his impressive career.
But Tiger never gave up. He kept trying, he kept enduring the pain, he kept his head up. And then, after being shut out of the victor’s circle for nearly 1,900 days, the old Tiger returned, capturing the Tour Championship on Sunday, Sept. 23 to the chants of fans shouting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” And so, he stretched out his arms, raised his club and let the tears fall.
We’re proud of you, Tiger Woods. And we’re sure your father is proud as well.