This month The World Golf Hall of Fame inducted Eldrick Tont Woods, also known by his nickname, Tiger, into its 2022 hall of fame class. As the introduction began, his fourteen-year-old daughter, Sam, took to the podium and chronicled her experience of growing up with her dad. As she was speaking, I suddenly realized that Tiger, this young phenom, had grown up right in front of my eyes.
I remembered him being paraded on television as a young boy with his dad and the speculation of how great he would be one day. In 1994, this young man that everyone raved about, enrolled at Stanford University on a golf scholarship. In college, he went on to be the league Player of the Year and attained first-team All American honors. As the U.S. Amateur Champion, he gained entry to the Masters Championship Tournament and The Open Championship which were the catalyst for him to turn professional.
At age 20, Tiger Woods received his PGA card. With a slow start his first year on the tour, it allowed him to become acclimated to the ins and outs of a touring professional. The next year everything began to fall into place, and he finished the season with eight wins and the rest is history.
During Tiger’s induction ceremony, a video was played giving a synopsis of all his accomplishments as a player. Included were accolades from many of the sports world’s most accomplished athletes, as well as some of the golf game’s greatest players. There were superstars such as swimmer Michael Phelps, tennis phenom Serena Williams, and the NFL’s greatest Jerry Rice were part of the presentation. As each one spoke of their admiration for Tiger Woods the athlete, it was quite apparent how awestruck they were of him. What stood out for me was as each PGA professional wins were listed, some had four wins some had as much as twenty. But compared to Tiger’s record of 82 wins, their accomplishments appeared minuscule.
In his acceptance speech, Tiger mentioned that he was not always allowed in some of the golf venues he played because of his skin color. He stated that he asked two questions to the tournament director, one was where the first tee was located and the second was what’s the course record. That mindset was the catalyst for his greatness. Another area that was discussed is commitment to being excellent on the course. Whether in the gym developing his athletic ability or his time spent practicing every aspect of his game, that keen focus was honed through his efforts. He elevated the game by creating a carbon footprint to success.
Tiger’s work ethic was key to his development of becoming an exceptional golfer and his focus on what he wanted to accomplish. A great deal of his mindset originated from his relationship with his dad, Earl Woods. The driving force behind Tiger. Earl Woods died in 2006 and would be proud of his son for what he has accomplished in the sixteen years since his passing. He created the template of what a father’s commitment is to his children and that can easily be witnessed in Tiger. Tiger Wood’s dedication to ensure the best for Sam, his daughter and Charley his son who appears to follow in his footsteps, is a continuation of his father’s guidance.
I say to Earl Woods, well done and big congratulations to Tiger, your journey is not quite over.