Tiger Woods at the Memorial. Pic: Getty Images
Few voices in sport count as much Tiger Woods’ voice. Many, many years ago, when his father, Earl Woods, speaking of his son had said that he could make a difference that goes way beyond sport. Indeed and right now that could be one of those movements, as Woods called the ‘Black Lives Matter’ as ‘fantastic’ and that’s ‘how we grow, that’s how we move forward.’
The legend tees up this week for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak and for the first time since February as he searches for title No. 83 to break the tie with Sam Snead.
On the eve of the tournament he has won five times and on a course called ‘Jack’s (Nicklaus) House’, Woods also weighed in on the ‘Black Live Movement’. Woods has always been careful about making statements, especially political, but as he gets ready to play for the first time since the death of George Floyd, he called the movement ‘fantastic’.
Maintaining this movement is the way for our society to move forward, Woods said, “I think change is fantastic. As long as we make changes without hurting the innocent — and unfortunately that has happened, hopefully it doesn’t happen in the future — but a movement and change is fantastic.”
“That’s how society develops. That’s how we grow. That’s how we move forward. That’s how we have fairness. Unfortunately, we’ve lost innocent lives along the way, and hopefully we don’t lose any more in the future as we move to a much better place socially.”
The 44-year-old Woods’ last four starts have been a win at Zozo Championship in Japan in the last week of October; fourth at Hero World Challenge in the first week of December; Tied-9thFarmers’ Insurance in the last week of January and 68that Genesis Invitational in the third week of February. Five months on, he is back on the tee at Muirfield Village for the Memorial.
Wood’s last public golf outing was the Charity Match featuring himself and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in Florida, US. That, too, was without fans, as it will be this week and for the rest of the 2019-20 season till the Tour Championship.
Woods added, “I’m used to having so many people around me or even touch me, going from green to tee.”
“That’s something that I looked at and said, ‘Well, I’m really not quite comfortable with that, that whole idea. Let’s see how it plays out first and let’s see how the TOUR has played out, how they’ve started, and I feel that I’m comfortable enough to come back out here and play again, and I’m excited to do it.'”
Even though he praised the safety measures the PGA Tour has put in place, Woods admits that traveling is still a “risk.” He added, “That’s the risk that I’m taking, the risk we’re all taking now.”
“The Tour has done a fantastic job to protect us and to ensure we’re all safe. But it is now a risk that you’re taking when you’re outside your property and around individuals that you don’t know where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.”
This field also includes World no.1 Rory McIlroy, five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, four-time Major winner Brooks Koepka, 2018 Memorial champion Bryson DeChambeau and major winners Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.
Woods’ voice and opinion counts on both social and sporting movements. It’s always been a given and now it is really important when come to Black Lives Matter.