US golfer Tiger Woods is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time. Rightfully so as he is tied for the most number of PGA Tour wins with Sam Snead with a whopping 82 wins to their names. He is also ranked second in the highest number of major tournament victories.
Tiger Woods‘ ascend to greatness was not only a big thing for the sport but also for people of color in the US. Golf was always looked upon as a racist sport. In fact, black players were not allowed to take part in the Masters till 1975. So Woods’ 1997 Masters victory was considered path-breaking. It certainly was.
It is also important to note that Tiger Woods has multi-ethnic ancestral roots, including Asian ancestry. He self-identifies as ‘Cablinasian‘ – a mix of black, Asian, Native American and Caucasian. And that precision is on point. His mother, Kultida, is of Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry. His late father, Earl, said he was Native American, Chinese, and African-American.
Tiger Woods has often explained that only identifying himself as an African-American would write his own mother out of identity. He spoke about it on Oprah Winfrey’s show when he was asked if it bothered him that people only referred to him as black.
“It does. Growing up, I came up with this name: I’m a ‘Cablinasian’.”
He said that in high school, when asked to fill out forms, he would tick both the African-American and Asian boxes. He added:
“Those are the two I was raised under and the only two I know. I’m just who I am… whoever you see in front of you.”
Tiger Woods maintained this identity even before starting college at Stanford. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1994 that then-amateur Woods had spoken to San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Hruby about his race being often misunderstood. He said:
“Actually, I’m three-fourths Asian. I’m mostly Thai and a little Chinese. And I’m one-fourth black. When I go to Thailand, they call me a Thai. In this country, I’m called a black. So it is a little confusing.”
His father, Earl, was more specific with regards to his son’s identity, stating:
“Tiger is really one-half Thai, one-quarter Chinese, one-eighth white, one-sixteenth Shawnee American Indian and one-sixteenth black.”
In 2003, Tiger Woods visited China and while in a conversation with a media house, he opened up about his Asian roots and said:
“Well it’s awfully nice coming back to Asia. Obviously my mum’s, its the kind of household I grew up in so it is pretty neat always coming back to Asia but particularly China, I’ve never been to China. This is my first time and I’m really excited about it.”
When asked about how Asian he was, he answered:
“Predominantly Asian actually. The majority of my blood is Asian.”
Tiger Woods added that growing up, he spent a lot of time with his mother and was well-acquainted with Asian culture. He said:
“I do and when I come back here I feel, I feel at peace because this is the culture I was raised under really. My mum was basically the one I saw at home all the time and that’s the discipline I received.”
Will Tiger Woods play in the Hero World Challenge?
It seems like Tiger Woods is finally back to competing regularly as he recently confirmed his participation in ‘The Match’ and the Hero World Challenge that he hosts every year.
Woods will be featuring the latter after a gap of almost two years as the event got canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In 2021, he did not take part in the tournament, possibly because he was still recovering from his car crash that year.
Fans were more than elated when Tiger Woods announced his participation as everyone was waiting with bated breath as to when and if he would return. Woods did not provide any concrete answers regarding his future in golf after the accident.
Now that he is back, Tiger Woods will face some tough competition in the Hero World Challenge from new competitors and former champions alike. The field is set to feature the likes of Xander Schauffelle, Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau, Hideyi Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm amongst others.
Scottie Scheffler is the favorite to win, but if history knows anything about Tiger Woods, it is that he roars back when people least expect it. The legend would of course want to make a thunderous comeback to the stage and will give it his all to it.
The Hero World Challenge will be held in Albany, Bahamas, from November 28 to December 4. Of course, it goes without saying that it will be an edge-of-the-seat thriller that no golf fan would want to miss.