Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
Well before he officially turned pro in 1996 and took the golf world by storm, Tiger Woods was turning heads. From television appearances at the age of two on the “Mike Douglas Show,” to breaking 70 on a course at 12 years old, it was pretty much a sure bet that Tiger Woods was going to be a star. It turns out, Tiger even knew it himself.
In an interview Woods gave to Trans World Sport in 1990 at the age of 14, the young phenom had some prophetic words about his future. The interviewer asked Woods about his dealings with racial discrimination at country clubs and golf courses due to the fact that golf was, and in some circles still is, widely considered to be a rich white man’s game.
Here’s what Woods had to say on the subject.
“Every time I go to a major country club I always feel it,” Woods told the interviewer. “Can always sense it. People always staring at you. ‘What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.’ When I go to Texas or Florida you always feel it. They’re saying ‘What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.’ And that’s probably because that’s where all the slavery was.”
When the interviewer followed up by asking Woods if he felt that he could change their perspective, Woods said, “Since I’m black it might be even bigger than Jack Nicklaus. I might be even bigger than him. I may be like a sort of Michael Jordan in basketball.”
Woods was clearly an impressive kid on and off the course, especially judging by how composed and thoughtful his answers were.
From a golf standpoint, Woods was asked what he thinks makes him such a great player, to which he responded “my competitiveness.
“My competitiveness, it sort of brings me through in the clutch,” Woods said. “When you have to hit a putt, you make a putt. When you have to hit a shot, you hit the shot. You just sort of drop into another zone and block out everything, and that’s really helped me.”
He even revealed some interesting things about his own personality and how he doesn’t show much emotion on the outside, but is extremely emotional on the inside.
“I’m calm on the outside but I’m very emotional inside,” Woods said. “Inside, I’m really emotionally high, pumped up, but I don’t show too much on the outside. I don’t know why that is, my dad does it (…) and I kind of inherited it.”
Woods also revealed who his two favorite golfers were – Nick Faldo and Greg Norman. Norman because he likes his aggressiveness and the consistency of Faldo.
The whole interview is worth a watch as it reveals a lot about the world’s most famous golfer even though he’s changed drastically from the 14-year-old version of himself. It shows the mindset that shaped one of the greatest golfers the game has ever known.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.