More than a year before Tiger Woods officially proclaimed, “Hello world!” at his premiere as a professional golfer, he made a statement at Shinnecock Hills and the U.S. Open. Literally, he used the occasion in 1995 to write and issue a statement about himself. The 19-year-old had been a phenomenon since he was 2, was a national amateur star and had played in the Masters. But he realized that many people still misunderstood or misidentified him. So before he played his first U.S. Open round, he sent a missive to the media saying he was “equally proud” to be both African-American and Asian. “That is who I am,” he wrote. “Now, with your cooperation, I hope I can just be a golfer and a human being.” Who could have imagined the ride he would take in both of those roles? While educated observers saw instantly that he was a prodigy — Dana Quigley called him “The eighth wonder of the world” after a practice round at Shinnecock — it would have been hard to predict he would win 14 major championships (one of them on a broken leg), become one of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, change the scope of… Read full this story
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