Video: A candid Tiger Woods discusses race in golf at age 14
By Alex Myers
Interview footage of a 14-year-old Tiger Woods has surfaced thanks to Trans World Sport. As part of a 20th-anniversary celebration, the company is looking back at intereviews conducted with young athletes who went onto stardom. The profile took place at Woods' family home in Cypress, Calif., in November, 1990:
The highlights are some very candid quotes from Woods concerning race and golf.
"Every time I go to a major country club, you can always feel it, you can always sense it," Woods said, referring to racism. "People are always staring at you. 'What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here.'"
However, he goes onto acknowledge that because of his race, he could become an even bigger worldwide figure.
"Since I'm black, it might be even bigger than Jack Nicklaus. I might be even bigger than him -- to the blacks," said Woods, who has rarely singled out any part of his multi-racial background. "I might be sort of like a Michael Jordan in basketball. Something like that."
Of course, Woods did become a global icon like Jordan. He even took the baton from "His Airness" as Nike's top pitchman, though in this older footage, his Swoosh socks clash with Reebok sneakers. But seeing Tiger as a carefree kid playing Nintendo with pictures of Jack Nicklaus hanging in his room, and not as an image-conscious man, is quite refreshing.
Tiger's late father, Earl, is also featured in the video. Not surprisingly, he doesn't hold back when assessing his precocious son's talent.
"Jack Nicklaus was taught golf from the tee to the green," Earl Woods said. "I didn't believe in that. I taught Tiger golf from the green back to the tee. So Tiger's short game is in place right now and it is as good, if not better, than most of the tour players right now."
Nearly two decades later, you could say the same thing.