Ever wonder if Tiger Woods notices that, after all he has accomplished and all the worldwide recognition he has received across all these years at the top of his sport, he remains the only black American playing on the PGA Tour?
“Tiger notices everything,” said Ahmad Rashad. “He’s socially conscious about a lot of things.
“But you can’t put that onus on one person.”
Rashad, a former NFL star receiver and Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster who co-hosts the “Morning Drive” show on the Golf Channel, lives in Jupiter and is one of Woods’ golfing buddies and close friends.
And, apparently, they’ve discussed this subject.
“When Tiger first came on, there weren’t any other black golfers, and for the same reasons there aren’t any now,” Rashad said. “There’s got to be a place to start.
“Where are you going to play? Where are you going to get clubs? How much does it cost? That, more than anything else, is what prevents minorities — or anybody who doesn’t have enough money — from playing golf.
“It’s a lot easier to go play soccer or football or basketball.”
Rashad said Woods already has changed the game by making golf more athletic, and that, too, could attract more young black players.
“Golf isn’t just for nerds anymore,” said Rashad, who learned to play 12 years ago and now claims to be a 3-handicap, at least partially because of his practicing with Woods at the 14-time major championship winner’s Jupiter Island estate. “You have a lot of all-around athletes, real jocks, playing golf now.”
Woods also has given the black community a reason to care about the game, Rashad said, by giving it a golfer with whom it can identify.
“Just him winning and being out front all the time is enough for some to say, ‘That guy looks like me. I can do the same thing,’” Rashad said. “That’s where his biggest impact comes from. And he does other things. He does his part. But all of us need to get more involved.
“That’s why it’s great so see organizations like this one and the First Tee program, where they’re making it possible for everybody to play golf.”