Tiger Woods: Portrait of a Person and a Persona
Tiger Woods is the most famous golf player ever to live. Described as a “golf prodigy”, the impact of his skills extend far beyond his success in the sport (Londino xi). His image was the metaphor for an equal and racist- free America (Cashmore 621). Additionally, he has engaged in numerous philanthropic activities in order to promote and achieve positive change (Londino xii). Tiger Woods was thus immediately recognized and loved for his golfing skills and the empowerment those created, but to some extent, the fixation on his successful image disguised the pertaining issue of class segregation and racial inequality in the American society.
Tiger Woods` sporting career started early on in his childhood. He showed golfing talent at a very early age, while growing up in a middle- class family in suburban neighborhoods of California (Londino xii). When he won his first national US Masters at the age of 21, he was not just the first black man to do so; he was also the youngest and the best to date (Younge). At the peak of his professional career, he had bagged every major golfing title, winning over 40 golfing tournaments and over 10 major championships (Londino xii). Such immense success is a truly astonishing achievement for any professional sportsman. Additionally, as explained by Londino, “his racial heritage further underscored his achievements in a historically segregated sports” (xii). The latter is exactly what makes Woods` achievements even more important as he was he able to not only enter a predominantly white sport, but took it by storm and succeed.
Golf was always considered as more than just a sports game in the US. It held important implications for the continuing, albeit informal social and racial segregation of the US society as it was considered as a playground for white, Christian, upper- middle and upper- class Americans (Younge). Golf was thus the metaphor for white success, wealth, and dominance. Although there were other black golf players before Tiger Woods came along, their achievements were diminished because they were never fully recognized by golfing community, golfing enthusiasts, and the interested public (Younge). As such, it can be considered that prior to Woods, there were some active black players, but golfing was still a token for white dominance and wealth in a divided US society.
Golfing talent of Tiger Woods demanded attention and recognition for his achievements. His ability in this sport attracted wide public attention, as well as sponsors which wanted to support him because they were aware of the larger significance of his success (Younge). Although other colored players have forced- open some of the opportunities for him, Woods was the first to won a national championship. He draw unprecedented crowds to golf tournaments, increased the interest of the younger generation for the sport and helped inspire almost every golfing star that is active and successful today (Harig). This increased interest also attracted large amounts of money, increasing ticket prices and money …