Reliving How Tiger Woods Won the 1997 Masters

Joe Beditz, the president of the Nationwide Golf Basis, noticed the impression, together with a 22 p.c improve in leisure golf participation and a 50 p.c bounce within the variety of nonwhite golfers from when Woods turned professional in 1996 to 2001.

JOE BEDITZ Tiger’s largest impression, by far, was on golf’s public consciousness. He grew to become ubiquitous: TV advertisements, journal covers, interviews and tv appearances. The ultra-elevated public consciousness was the headspring from which all of golf’s blessings flowed — extra followers, extra golfers, extra programs, extra gear gross sales.

In the identical five-year interval starting in 1996, PGA Tour prize cash mushroomed by 172 p.c, tv rankings for the Masters jumped by 58 p.c and community cameras tried to seize each shot struck by Woods at any event.

NANTZ The concept was to by no means lose monitor of Tiger throughout the complete physique of a three-hour broadcast. It was a brand new period for golf as a result of a golfer was now possibly probably the most well-known athlete on the planet.

The pervasive perception within the wake of Woods’s 1997 Masters victory was that it might be a catalyst for diversifying skilled golf, which had a well-deserved popularity for exclusionary ways and biases. The PGA Tour had a Caucasian-only clause till 1961. Elder was not welcomed to the Masters till 14 years later. Woods’s 1997 Masters breakthrough and exploding fame have been anticipated to carry sweeping change. However 25 years later, there are not more than a handful of Black golfers on the PGA Tour.

JARIAH BEARD (certainly one of dozens of Black caddies at Augusta Nationwide from 1955 to 1983) We had extra Black execs within the Sixties than we do now. Within the Nineteen Eighties, one other Black golfer, Calvin Peete, received 12 PGA Tour occasions. He received the Gamers Championship and was close to the highest of the cash rankings listing virtually yearly. Tiger got here alongside 10 years later, however what number of have adopted him?

EDWARD WANAMBWA (an editor for African American Golfer’s Digest and a former caddie for Elder) It was a bit naïve to assume there was going to be this sudden inflow of African American golfers. Why didn’t the floodgates open? As a result of elite golf is just not an inexpensive endeavor — the gear, the journey, the entry charges to tournaments, it’s costly. There are well-meaning initiatives to introduce the sport to junior golfers, however the mechanisms for attending to the tour weren’t there.

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