The Tiger Woods Effect Still Isn’t Seen at the PGA Tour Level

David Steele, AOL Sporting News, April 12, 2011

It might be the strangest paradox in all of sports today, and it played out again last weekend at Augusta National, before millions of television viewers. Tiger Woods was the center of attention, the most magnetic presence in golf, drawing the biggest and loudest gallery and generating another massive audience for a nail-biter of a Masters finish.

The crowd following him was a cross-section of the global population, awash in more colors than the crowds at a major had ever been before he burst onto the scene. Undoubtedly there were more viewers of color in the United States and around the world than there ever had been before his arrival. And blended in with the mass of players tangling with Tiger for the Masters title down the stretch were youngsters from all over the planet, from literally every golf-playing continent, who readily admit that he was a major reason they took up the game and who used him as their role model.

Yet, once again, not a single other competitor at this major looked like Tiger.

Fifteen years after Woods knocked down the walls between the historically exclusionary sport and the people it most aggressively excluded, there is precisely one other African-American player on the PGA Tour.

{snip}

Now, the environment has changed in just about every other aspect of golf. More black people are playing the game; before Woods turned pro, estimates put the number of African-American recreational golfers at around 800,000, and today it is more than 2 million. More are watching it, both on television and in person. A huge segment of the conversation about Tiger’s extra-curricular activities after his 2009 car crash was driven by a demographic that, until his emergence, couldn’t have cared less about any aspect of any golfer’s life.

Yet virtually none of them are joining Tiger in playing golf at its highest level.

{snip}

The number of black golfers’ organizations, websites and networks grows every year. The same goes for blacks playing in college–including historically black colleges, even in the face of severe financial hardships at those schools. Shasta Averyhardt, who made this year’s LPGA Tour out of Q-school, is a product of Jackson State, coached since 1986 by Eddie Payton, the brother of football Hall of Famer Walter Payton. Yes, she is the only black player on that tour.

All of this proves that black people in this country are engaged in golf like they never have been before. The “Tiger Effect,” a phenomenon even before he gave its generation its Jackie Robinson moment at the ’97 Masters, is still in effect today. It’s the same in tennis, where Serena and Venus Williams have drawn African-Americans into that country-club sport in unprecedented numbers during their decade-long primes.

{snip}

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  • Question Diversity

    I disagree. There are a lot of good young golfers on tour who got into golf because they were little children watching Tiger Woods dominate the sport in the 1997-2009 time frame. They just so happen to be all white, save the occasional Oriental or Pacific Islander here and there.

  • GenX ANZAC

    I’m very much enjoying Tiger Woods’ symbolic fall from grace.

    Namely because his image as a ethnic pioneer in this sport has been so manipulated as to make him appear to be so wholesome and clean cut.

    When in reality this guy is a major sleaze bag, not some vulnerable soul.

    Even now after having the audacity to cheat on your Swedish, ex swimsuit model and twin (could you think up a better sexiness cliché?), who was his wife and the mother of his children with up to 120 cheap hookers, porn stars and waitresses etc.

    When I look at Woods, I see a Dennis Rodman type of character with all of his “bling and ho’s” being simply kept out of sight.

    For as long as I can remember Woods has and is described in our media either as “world no.1” or now “former world no.1” (Jack Nicklaus won four titles more than Woods). You can tell that the media and Woods’ corporate backers are dying for Woods to be on top again. I only hope the public has a memory long enough so as to avoid the lesson that stereotypical black behavior is forgivable as long as success is achieved.

    I sense though that this guy has a lot more skeletons in the closet, that are being hidden at a great expense.

    ‘Tiger Woods gags British media’

    http://goo.gl/8VVZx or http://goo.gl/t4Mpg

    If what has come out already, isn’t bad enough ….

    ‘Tiger bedded neighbor’s 21-year-old daughter’

    http://goo.gl/yT1uA

    Quote…”Woods had apparently lusted for the attractive brunette — whom he knew since she was 14 — for some time, according to the Enquirer”.

    Or more recently….

    ‘Tiger Woods’ new blonde has sporting links’

    http://goo.gl/P1aGZ

    Quote: ….”Tiger Woods is dating the blonde 22-year-old step-daughter of Glasgow Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston”.

    {snip}

    …..”Tiger Woods has been my next-door neighbour for 15 years and Alyse has known him all her life,” he told the newspaper.

    Yuck, would you want Tiger Woods living next to you and your daughter?

  • AWG (Average White Guy)

    Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods is more Asian than black.

    He is half Asian (one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Thai), one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.

  • sbuffalonative

    “…virtually none of them are joining Tiger in playing golf at its highest level”

    Whose responsibility is this?

    Golf is a sport like NASCAR. Either you qualify to make it or you don’t. There’s no wiggle-room. You can’t get by as an affirmative action player

    “Tiger Woods was the center of attention, the most magnetic presence in golf, drawing the biggest and loudest gallery and generating another massive audience for a nail-biter of a Masters finish.”

    I don’t know if this guy was watching but Tiger tied for 4th I believe. If there were nail biters, they were biting for Schwarzel.

  • Anonymous

    Here is a brilliant concept.

    Turn the uninhabited areas of Detroit into golf courses. Construction and maintenance would put thousands of local youths to work. Black youth would then flock to Detroit, and embrace golf. Also vacated buildings could be used to house these youths. At a cost of about $100,000,000/year, two problems could be addressed:

    1-Lack of black golfers

    2-Unemployment at detroit

  • Grant Landrice

    This 2011 Master is Tiger Woods’ final gasp at success. It was an exciting ride, but the Woods roller coaster is on the speedy down ride.

    The Woods phenomenon was peculiar in that Woods arrived on the professional golf scene when there were no truly first line golfers, except for Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. The group of war horses such as Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Faldo, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam, Payne Stewart, Lee Janzen, Corey Pavin, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, were out to pasture for all practicable purposes.

    During Jack Nicklaus winning span 1962-1986 there were great golfers that had won multiple Majors. Arnold Palmer (7), Billy Casper (3), Gary Player (9), Lee Trevino (6), Tony Jacklin (2), Raymond Floyd (4), Dave Stockton (2), Johnny Miller (2), Hale Irwin (3), Tom Watson (8), Hubert Green (2), Andy North (2), David Graham (2), Fuzzy Zoeller (2), Seve Ballesteros (5), Larry Nelson (3).

    During Woods winning span 1997-2008 he had a depleted field of worthy opponents: Ernie Els (3), Vijay Singh (2), Retief Goosen (2), Phil Mickelson (3), Pádraig Harrington (2), and Ángel Cabrera(2) were the only multiple Major winners.

    Nicklaus competed against a much stronger field. He is still far and away the best golfer ever. But where should we rank Woods. He has put up some impressive numbers. Woods is much like Arnold Palmer who also sparked an increased in the game but Palmer had to fight off Casper, Player, Doug Ford (2), Peter Thomson (5), Julius Boros (3), and of course Nicklaus.

    Here is an objective ranking of great golfers, a ranking unswayed by the Woods mania. The best is Nicklaus, then move on down the line. The golfer above any golfer would beat the golfer below on both their best days.

    Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Harry Vardon, Gene Sarazen.

  • Greg

    However, Woods is only about 1/4 black. His mom is 100% Thai, and his father was a mixture of Native American, white, and black. If anything, his emergence onto the golf scene should have inspired more Asian players.

    I for one don’t mind Woods, but hate how the adoring media and “golf fans” treat him. Yes, he is and has been good. But there are many golfers just as good or not better that don’t get the same praise. I hope he never wins another major.

  • Bernie

    “Fifteen years after Woods knocked down the walls between the historically exclusionary sport and the people it most aggressively excluded …”

    Not true. There have long been a few blacks on the PGA tour. The fact is, most blacks are just not good enough to play on the tour.

    The problem is, once one black has some success at a white sport, people automatically assume that other blacks will follow and that they will dominate. But Arthur Ashe, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods are anomalies.

    For some reason, the success of the Klitschkos, Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton in boxing has not lead sportswriters to wonder why more white Americans are not going into boxing.

  • THE MAN

    What I don’t understand is how much white golfers pant for Tiger.I also wonder why when he is 200 players behind why the sports commentators report where Tiger is in the tournament and hardly mention those golfers in the lead.I would like to see a survey conducted to find out whites obsession with Tiger.

  • yankee rebel

    The game of golf does not fit well with the black culture. First of all it is expensive. Even a low end set of clubs costs hundreds. Greens fees are in the $20 dollar range at bottom end courses. Courses have dress codes and behavior codes that do not mix with black norms. Likewise playing the game requires self enforcement of the rules,and gentlemanly behavior,hardly strong points of the black identity. Also why would blacks want to associate with a game popular with White civilized cultures,when they can hang with their own at a basketball court. When was the last time you heard of a brawl or stabbing at a golf course?

  • Anonymous

    All of this proves that black people in this country are engaged in golf like they never have been before. The “Tiger Effect,” a phenomenon even before he gave its generation its Jackie Robinson moment at the ‘97 Masters, is still in effect today. It’s the same in tennis, where Serena and Venus Williams have drawn African-Americans into that country-club sport in unprecedented numbers during their decade-long primes.

    —————————————————————–

    Isn’t this just great. Let’s get all those blacks into the country-club settings. Right? Just like Oprah did 2 shows on trying to get blacks into our National parks such as Yosemite! Yeah, now we can camp alongside the Crips and Bloods…Where is the White backbone? No such thing, I guess. NOTHING for Whites can be allowed to stand in the “new” insane America.

    Let us draw even more blacks into what used to be White sports/clubs…I do not watch any game with black players any longer so I guess that leaves me with NOTHING! Even NASCAR now panders to blacks and it makes me sick!

    The arrogance/criminality of most black “athletes” leaves me cold and I feel sick even watching our country sinking even faster by the day.

  • Question Diversity

    This article and the comments submitted thus far make me think of the old axiom: You can lead diversity to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Just like the exorbitant resources to lure blacks into golf in the Tiger Woods era has been a flop, in terms of the demographics of PGA Tour pros and regulars at Major tournaments, the same is true of the education system (in spite of the American education dollar disproportionately being diverted to low-IQ blacks for the last two generations, there is not yet a glut of black rocket scientists and brain surgeons), quasi-policing (in spite of a lot of money being spent on one crime prevention program after another after another in ghettoes, blacks are still way more criminal than whites, Hispanics or Asians) — I could go on and on.

    6 Grant Landrice:

    Don’t forget that Nicklaus not only won 18 Majors, but he also had 19 second-place finishes in Majors. Combine the two, and you have almost a decade of Nicklaus either winning or placing in Major tournaments. And most of his second place finishes were to the self same quality competition you cataloged. Woods, meanwhile, has 14 Major wins but (IIRC) only two second-place finishes, and I think both of those second-place finishes were to golfers you’ve never heard of and will never hear from again. I know one of those was Rich Beem, who was a K-Mart checker before his golf career came through. No way Jack Nicklaus would have ever let himself be beaten by a K-Mart checker in a Major.

    9 The Man:

    I don’t think the field really fears Tiger Woods anymore.

  • cryhavoc

    While there may not have been anyone who looked like Tiger (boo hoo) at the Masters, there was a “look alike” at the Outback tourney in Tampa that was televised the following weekend, a guy named Thorpe who was just getting back into golf after a stretch in the slammer for tax evasion. How many white golf pros can say that? Just askin’..

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    Complete balderdash all around. Woods is a living legend, a fantastic golf player who’s been the top name in the sport for years. Ask any golfer. Has no one watched the guy play? His ability to excel at golf really isn’t related at all to his private life. His downfall may be yips caused by guilt feelings; more likely physical breakdown. Saying that he isn’t the real deal sounds like ignorant whining. We don’t need that.

    Also the whole premise of the article is idiotic. Tiger Woods is overwhelmingly NOT a “black”. The bogus term “african-american” is at its lamest in describing him. How would Tiger do strollin’ the hood in Brownsville or Compton? HA!

    Maybe whites should start claiming as their own product any famous athlete who is 1/8th or more white.

    I could make a list. It would be a long one.

  • Follow the Shoe

    Though Woods is a phenomenal golfer, I have never rooted for him, and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. It has to do with his behavior. No other professional golfer whines and complains like Woods does. He acts like the universe owes it to him to make every shot he hits perfect, and whenever he hits a bad shot, he acts like his head is going to explode. He regularly can be seen uttering profanities on live TV, something no other pro golfer ever did before him, and thankfully very few others have followed his example. I learned golf at an early age from my parents, one of whom was a pro golfer and the other a scratch golfer, and if I behaved like Woods does, they would have taken my clubs away and made me walk back to the clubhouse.

  • Anonymous

    For those of you breaking down Wood’s race by fractional percentages, which do you think he relates mostly to?

  • Anonymous

    Tiger is one of two blacks on the tour.

    That is TWO too many.

  • Anonymous

    15 — Follow the Shoe wrote at 8:31 PM on April 17:

    Though Woods is a phenomenal golfer, I have never rooted for him, and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. It has to do with his behavior.

    —————————————————————–

    Wrong. It has EVERYTHING to do with the color of his “skin”. “Skin color” and behavior go hand in hand.

    BTW, can we please quit referring to blacks, etc as just “skin color”! Whites can have different skin color! It isn’t “skin” color, it is RACE and genetics!

  • Sardonicus

    Despite being of mixed ancestry, Tiger Woods in recent years has described himself as black and seems to have more black friends, like Michael Jordan, than white ones. Of course, I was only talking about male friends.

  • Anonymous

    #19 reminded me of a man that I knew many years ago, he was born (out of wedlock) in Germany ~1920. His mother was a “pure” aryan, and his father was a Jew. His parents split up before his birth. During the Nazi period, he was all “Seig Hiel”, after the war, “Oy veh, was I persecuted”. He did nothing any sensible guy wouldn’t have done.

  • Incitatus

    Woods will never win another Major again.

  • Follow the Shoe

    To “Anonymous”: If it’s just about Race, and Race and Behavior go hand in hand, then how come Woods doesn’t behave more like Asians and Whites, since he’s more Asian and White than he is African? No, it’s about culture and behavior. Woods behaves that way because he’s a spoiled brat, not because he’s black or whatever. Isn’t it enough for you to criticize his behavior without attributing it to his race? I guess now all you folks who are on this website because you think that Race is Everything are going to gang up on me. I’m here because I think we should honestly be able to criticize people’s culture and behavior without having it end up being all about race. But, Anonymous, I guess you’re here for something else.

  • John

    …….A huge segment of the conversation about Tiger’s extra-curricular activities after his 2009 car crash was driven by a demographic that, until his emergence, couldn’t have cared less about any aspect of any golfer’s life.

    Yet virtually none of them are joining Tiger in playing golf at its highest level……..

    Haha…so is it insinuating that more blacks want to take up

    golf because of all those pretty white girls waiting for some action after a hard 18 holes on the golf course?!

    Yet unfortunately there aren`t many blacks that have the same golfing skill and `off field` luck as the ole tiger

    As someone who has a bit of inside knowledge of what Tiger was getting up to in Australia after the Australian Open with his mistress just before his wife found out I can assure you the guy is a real jerk,

    or should I say a hypocrite who plays the image of the nice smiling guy but only cares about one thing only.Its more this that makes me angry tan anything to do with matters related to race.Although one could argue that I cant think of many black super athletes setting a good example off the sports field

  • Anonymous

    “Woods behaves that way because he’s a spoiled brat, not because he’s black or whatever. Isn’t it enough for you to criticize his behavior without attributing it to his race?”

    – Follow the Shoe

    —————

    His Race? And what race would that be?

    (I guess you’d have to settle for “whatever”.)

  • Ron

    #7 Greg:

    “I for one don’t mind Woods, but hate how the adoring media and “golf fans” treat him. Yes, he is and has been good. But there are many golfers just as good or not better that don’t get the same praise. I hope he never wins another major.”

    You contradict yourself. On one hand you claim don’t mind Tiger Woods, yet on the other hand you “hope” he doesn’t win. It seems to me you do mind Tiger. You are irked by him for whatever reason. Nevertheless, Tiger Woods has phenomenal talent and will win another major. That is guaranteed.