Woods inducted into the Hall of Fame
At long last Tiger Woods was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this week and, for 17 minutes, the 15-time major winner spoke unprompted about his life in the game.
He was introduced by his daughter, Sam, and within seconds of arriving on the stage he was visibly emotional.
"Crap, I just lost a bet to Stricker that I wouldn't cry."
His speech then included nothing of the 15 majors or the 82 PGA Tour wins, rather a lengthy and very humble thank you to those closest to him. He would get particularly emotional when speaking of his mother but one of the most telling stories was the one he told of playing in his junior days and the opportunity to play at a country club.
"One of the things that Dad had instilled in me is that he grew up in an era, same era as Charlie Sifford and why my son is named after Charlie, is that you had to be twice as good to be given half a chance," said Woods. "So that understanding and that drive, as Sam said, train hard, fight easy. I made practising so difficult, hurt so much, because I wanted to make sure that I was ready come game time. I hit thousands of balls, hands bleeding, aching, just so that I could play in a tournament.
"Southern California Junior Golf Association had amazing tournaments throughout the summer. We'd play all these great golf courses. Now meanwhile, you have to understand, I only played Heartwell or snuck on the Navy golf course. So one of the neatest things in the world for me was to play on a golf course as I read the name of the golf course and it had the two letters afterward, CC."
Not that playing at a grand country club was memorable for Woods the teenager for the right reasons.
"We had these fresh greens, not these bouncy poa greens that's all over the place where they're cut probably twice a week. Well, playing at some of these golf courses, I was not allowed in the clubhouses where all the other juniors were. The colour of my skin dictated that. As I got older, that drove me even more. So as I was denied access into the clubhouses, that's fine. Put my shoes on here in the parking lot. I asked two questions only, that was it. Where was the 1st tee, and what was the course record? Not complicated."
The 46-year-old is missing this week's Players Championship at Sawgrass as he continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in a car crash in 2021. He played with his son Charlie at an event in December but is yet to set a date for his return to the PGA Tour.