I know we black folks have a love-hate relationship with Tiger Woods, but there’s no doubt that his accomplishments have earned him a place in golf history and given us a reason to brag on his behalf. His impressive list of achievements includes five Masters wins, four PGA Championships, three U.S. Open Championships and three British Open Championships. At 21-years-old, Woods became the youngest Masters champion and the first black or Asian to win a major championship in the sport. And on Wednesday night, the golfer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame alongside former PGA commissioner Tim Finchem, three-time U.S. Women’s Open Susie Maxwell Berning and women’s golf pioneer Marion Hollins at an induction ceremony held at the PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.
Woods, 46, was joined by members of his family, daughter Sam, 14, son Charlie, 13, mother, Tida, and girlfriend, Erica Herman. Woods was introduced by his daughter, Sam Woods, who wore red to honor her dad, who customarily wears red on the last day of his tournaments. The tradition was inspired by the golfer’s mother.
Although Woods was being honored for his achievements on the golf course, his daughter made a point of referencing his recent personal triumph, surviving a horrific single-car crash in February 2021 that left Woods with multiple leg injuries. “About a year ago, you were stuck in a hospital bed at one of your ultimate lows and one of the scariest moments of your life and ours. We didn’t know if you’d come home with two legs or not. Now not only are you about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but you’re standing here on your own two feet.”
Attendees saw a video featuring highlights of the golfer’s legendary career. There were also taped tributes from other legendary athletes, including Serena Williams, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Brady.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Woods talked about not being allowed inside clubhouses at all-white country clubs in the early days of his career, as well as the financial sacrifices his parents made to support his love of golf. Woods also honored his late father, Earl Woods who instilled his love of golf while teaching him important life lessons. It was Earl who coined the nickname “Tiger” that he is known by today.
“One of the things that dad 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,’’ Woods said, describing the racial difficulties of those times.
Woods closed his speech by thanking family and friends who have supported him through both the high and low points of his golfing career. “I know that golf is an individual sport,” Woods said. “We do things on our own a lot for hours on end, but in my case, I didn’t get here alone. I had unbelievable parents, mentors, friends, who allowed me and supported me in the toughest times, the darkest of times, and celebrated the highest of times.”