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Woods, who is multi-racial, in a way alienated himself from the Black community when he told Oprah in 1997 that he considered himself “Cablinasian” more than African-American (which is a word he made up, standing for Caucasian, Black, Indian and Asian).
He didn’t necessarily want to be the poster child for Black or mixed-race golfers — in fact, he made several comments throughout the documentary implying he never got used to being ANY kind of poster child, and didn’t love the fame and attention that accompanied his success.
But it’s true that he really did change the sport for others. The documentary showed at least one or two shots of little boys lining up for autographs, and you have to imagine Black children at the time had never seen such a big-name golfer who looked like they did.
Tiger recalled even at a young age, being called names at competitions, or feeling unwelcome at certain courses based on the color of his skin.
Although hopefully that’s a thing of the past, the documentary also reminds viewers of an incident as recently as in 2010, when Woods was set to play in the Masters. The chairman of Augusta National publicly reprimanded Woods ahead of the event, for all the drama involving his extramarital affairs.
Journalist Bryant Gumbel called it a “public whipping,” saying he doubted that a white golfer would’ve faced nearly as much criticism — also considering cheating isn’t exactly a new phenomenon for professional athletes. The whole situation felt like critics telling NBA stars to “shut up and play” or saying former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t kneel for the national anthem. These are real people with real lives, problems, causes and voices. Who are we to dictate their lives or say that they’ve “let us down” (which is essentially what Augusta told Tiger), and imply they have some kind of responsibility to us? If Tiger dropped the ball, that’s for his family, friends and sponsors to hash out.