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Previously on all-American Woods is the youngest player ever to tee off in an official PGA tournament. I guess hello world, huh? And that's when he asked about the media. He goes, well, who are the assholes? There it is.
For the ages, do you feel that you're an influence on young blacks, young children? You really doesn't know who he is? I was tremendously blessed immediately. I have someone down. The Tiger Woods story has taken on more twists and turns than a par five.
I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior. Tiger's competitive career is over. Many doubted we ever see it.
But here it is, the return to glory. Albert, hello. Hey, Jordan. So today it's time to take stock because we're nearing the end of our run here with Tiger.
Yeah, it's hard to believe this is our season finale, but here we are. And it's really hard to believe is that when we started working on the series, we thought we'd be making a very different podcast.
We expected we'd be following present day tiger a lot more closely. Just thinking about Tiger in 2020, like and how that is being presented to the public, what are your thoughts there?
Well, you know what? No one's saying any more. Tiger's back is OK. Yeah, duh. Like we get it. You don't get it. I know he's been back is. No, shut up, will you? That's ESPN golf reporter Michael Collins. We talked all the way back in January. I think looking at Tiger for 20/20 think the narrative for him this season is hope.
And it's kind of hilarious to hear 20/20 and the word hope used in the same sentence.
Yeah, unfortunately, it really is going into making this show. We looked at 2020 as a significant year for Tiger. Could he defend his 2019 Masters title? What do you win another major and keep chipping away at Jack Nicklaus hallowed record?
Tiger also had a shot at fulfilling a lifelong dream competing in the Olympics. Would we see him at the Summer Games in Tokyo? What he medal. We expected answers and that would be there to cover whatever happened.
And of course, none of that happened as planned. Thanks, 20/20. So today we're going to talk about what has happened with Tiger since his big twenty nineteen comeback and what it all means for his golf career.
And we're going to return to a question we asked when we first started the series.
Who is Tiger Woods, really? This is episode 10, hindsight 20, 20. Today is my privilege to award our nation's highest civilian honor to one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports, Tiger Woods.
So Jordan, as we get up to speed on Tiger's last year or so, let's begin with a moment that's a bit thorny. Less than a month after his Masters win in 2019. Tiger was honored in the White House Rose Garden. President Trump gave Tiger the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
And this is a big deal award. It's basically America's closest thing to being knighted. But Tiger raised some eyebrows when he accepted this award from Trump.
It was kind of like that carbonation moment for Tiger all over again, just puzzling to a lot of people. Plenty of Trump critics wanted Tiger to pass on the invitation like other athletes have done. Steph Curry and the twenty seventeen Golden State Warriors there, probably the highest profile example of this Tiger and Trump have personal history.
They've known each other since the 90s.
A few years back, Trump named a villa after Tiger at his golf resort in Miami, and Tiger also designed an 18th hole course at Trump's feature golf club in Dubai.
And the two have golf together numerous times, including at least twice since Trump took office.
And by the way, Tiger has golf with other presidents, including Clinton, Bush Senior and Obama.
And he spoke at Obama's inauguration weekend when asked about his relationship with Trump in 2018. Tiger said, quote, You have to respect the office no matter who is in the office.
So when he accepted the invitation to the ceremony, it seems Tiger likely didn't see it as taking a political stand.
Right. And the ceremony was a classic Trump show. Trump talked for like 15 minutes. He sounded like a real fan, reliving Tiger's greatest hits on the third day at Torrey Pines.
He was one over par after the 12th hole and it really looked like he had no chance. Then came some of the most riveting scenes in golf history eagled the 13th.
You remember that Tiger, huh? I thought it's got a great memory of this guy.
Once the president placed the medal around Tiger's neck and shook his hand, it was Tiger's turn to speak. He got emotional, thanking his family.
My dad's no longer here, but my mom's here. I love you, Mom. Thank you. And. Sam and Charlie, for all your love and support.
I love you guys so much more than any other moment during the ceremony, what really stood out to me was when Tiger acknowledged the players who'd come before him.
I know that I'm the fourth golfer to have received this award, the late Arnold Palmer, the great Jack Nicklaus and Charlie Sifford, who is I always called him Grandpa because he was like the grandpa never had.
Charlie Sifford was the first black player on the PGA Tour and really a civil rights hero.
He was granted membership to the PGA in 1961 only after fighting to get a Caucasian only clause removed from the organization's bylaws.
Tiger said that without Sifford courage, quote, I probably wouldn't be here.
And I end up becoming so close with him that I end up dating my son Charlie after him. So to have been chosen as the next golfer after Charlie is truly remarkable. So thank you again. And thank you, Mr. President.
Tiger clearly adores Charlie Sifford. He named his only son after him, but it is weird to see Tiger honor Sifford and think Donald Trump in practically the same breath. Yeah, this moment is full of contradictions like Tiger himself. No, he's not the activist for racial justice that a lot of people hoped he'd be at the start of his career. But he's quick to pay tribute to Sifford, another black man who helped open the door for his own successes.
And it's a powerful moment, even if he's doing it at the Trump White House. Everything that I'm working on right now is straight from my album, straight from my album, and I think I'm going to name my album Tiger Woods.
This is rapper Cardi B in an Instagram live from fall 2019, several months after Tiger accepted the Medal of Freedom.
I'm gonna name my album, I think Tiger Woods, because I remember what everybody was talking shit on. Tiger was like, oh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then he fucking came and won that green jacket. That's what I'm running. My album Will Cardi B actually name her next album, Tiger Woods.
Unclear, but I just love this clip. I felt like we couldn't make this show and not include it. Fair enough. And more than it being a great piece of tape, Cardi gets the heart of what makes Tiger's comeback at the Masters feels so good it proved the haters wrong.
And in a weird way, this spiel from Khateeb feels like it's on the same continuum as President Trump's Medal of Freedom ceremony.
Both moments show the real cultural significance of Tiger's Masters comeback.
It was inspiring to so many people.
I honestly doubt that Tiger will ever be able to top it, even if he wins another major or even the Masters again. But Tiger has stayed mostly healthy and kept competing since last year's Masters.
Make room on the mountaintop, Tiger Woods has matched Sam Snead with 82 PGA Tour wins the most of all time. That's Tiger winning the Zozo championship in Japan in October 2010.
This put him at 82, all time PGA Tour wins, tying him with golf legend Sam Snead for the most ever. Tiger look like he had momentum and it was exciting. When he's healthy, he's still capable playing the best golf of anybody out there.
That's Trey Wingo on ESPN Radio. And this idea that Tiger can still be competitive as long as he's healthy. It's really the narrative surrounding Tiger's golf game right now.
But since that showing in Japan over a year ago, Tiger hasn't won again, not in any regular PGA events or major championships. And that brings us to the 2020 2021 season, which is now in full swing, minus the crowds. Right.
The PGA is calling it a super season because there will be six majors instead of the typical four. And one of those is this year's Masters, where Tiger is set to defend his title.
In fact, that tournament starts November 12th, the very day this episode publishes, which, Albert, you and I will cover the results in a special bonus episode.
And, you know, I used to think covering the 2020 Masters and Tiger's 2020 performance in general would be a critical part of this series.
But a lot of my feelings about Tiger's future and the meaning of whatever he does next have changed since we started working on the show.
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Before it would almost be like he was on autopilot and you would ask a question and he would give you an expansive answer and you would think, oh, he was really good, and then you would go back and go over your notes and think, wow, he filled up my notebook, but he didn't really say anything.
He was a master at that, but not so much anymore.
This is New York Times reporter Karen Crouse. We've heard from her before.
We wanted to get Karen's opinion on that big question we've been trying to answer all season long.
Who is Tiger Woods?
And for decades, reporters like Karen have been trying to answer that question oftentimes by, well, prying.
Let's be honest, I'm not sure there is a reporter he really doesn't have some level of disdain for. I mean, it's a very antagonistic relationship athlete and reporter. And he certainly has, you know, lived his almost his entire life in the fishbowl.
If I were him, I would hate all of us, really. I have empathy. I have great empathy for that.
Karen says when she thinks about Tiger's entire career in front of the cameras and microphones, she actually thinks he's been incredibly gracious with the press.
He was asked to come in more than anyone by a large margin. He did more interviews by a country mile than Phil Mickelson did. For example, during the time that I was on the beat. And I can count on one hand the number of times he declined to talk after a round or before a tournament.
He was at a tournament. He probably did.
At least seven interviews, and that includes three different stops, you know, TV, radio and print, and he did it uncomplainingly, which I give him all the credit for that because it has to get so monotonous.
And Jordan Tiger has loosened up in his public appearances in recent years.
You know, I like to practice and compete all day. That's one of my things. I like to grind it out. But the thing is, I wasn't able to do that on the golf course. So I applied my same intensity to my craft, my focus to call of duty. Don't laugh, that's Tiger with Stephen Colbert a few years back where he talked about how he channeled his energy when he was injured.
I mean, I'm more of a Madden guy, but wasting hours on video games, it's totally relatable.
I would spend eight hours a day. I get a 30 minute lunch break. I'd be in my reclining groppi chair playing. And then I thought I was good because I got through the campaigns, no big deal. And then I went online. And when seven year olds of video from around the world, humbling stuff, I'll hand it to him.
Tiger has the studio audience in the palm of his hand.
He does. And we also saw Tiger's vulnerable side in that speech from our last episode, the one where he talked in detail about the pain from his injuries.
Playing the game again even was I could even do that with my son. Charlie could even play in the backyard.
I mean, as a dad in my 40s with a, well, crumbling body, it's moving to watch Tiger open up about the physical struggles we all face as we get older, the realities of life.
I totally agree.
I mean, I can't exactly relate to being an aging dad, but I can definitely say that after watching hours, possibly days worth of footage of Tiger Woods for the show, you can definitely see he's started to open up more in recent years. And it's really nice he realized he had a responsibility, that he was, for better or worse, the face of the game, and he took that responsibility seriously.
I mean, that's one answer to who Tiger is. He's the face of golf, a living legend. He's the biggest draw on the PGA Tour by far. And he's still in the running to beat Jack Nicklaus record 18 major wins. Tiger's Masters win in twenty nineteen.
It brought him up to fifteen because it is such a historic and seemingly unreachable number. You every major, you got to bring it up. Every major you got to say something about it like that. Might seem like I get it. He's trying to catch Jack enough already. But until he goes, I ain't doing this no more, it's still going to be part of the narrative.
That's Michael Collins again from earlier this year.
And to be fair, that chase for eighteen narrative is something Tiger himself has been talking about since he was really small and really didn't need that little voice saying, I'm going to beat Jack Nicklaus.
Is five year old Tiger featured in a Nike commercial?
Hence the dramatic music. Right.
This is the ad Nike put out immediately after Tiger won the 2010 Masters.
It described Tiger is still chasing the same dream all these years later.
And while I'm sure Tiger would love to win more majors and cats, Jack, I'm personally no longer convinced that Tiger needs to in order to prove he's the greatest.
His twenty nineteen masters win prove to the world and himself that he could come back and that's kind of all he needed to do.
I also don't think that continually comparing Tiger and Jack Nicklaus is all that useful.
And, you know, there's one Tiger fan who's been saying for years that Tiger doesn't have anything to prove.
First of all, you're never going to say who's the greatest of all time.
Tiger's old pal, Michael Jordan. This is audio from a lengthy interview he did with Cigar Afficionado magazine back in twenty seventeen.
One of the many questions MJ was asked is, who's the greatest Tiger or Jack Nicklaus?
Now, obviously, Jack, one more. During the time he played, Tiger evolved it to where it was. You know, it crossed a lot of different boundaries where it's not just a white guy sporting black guys, Afro-American, all the minorities play the game and you play it at a level to where it generated so much interest financially that it grew the game from a financial standpoint. Now, does that constitute him being the greatest? Does that mean he's any less than than Jack?
I think is unfair.
I feel that Tiger really does not get enough credit for how he really has grown the game.
Karen Krauze agrees with MJ. Tiger's done a lot for the sport of golf.
Golf's top players now train harder and hit the ball farther. And golf is now a must see TV, at least when Tiger's playing and he's made everyone richer.
The tournament purses are massive now, and endorsement deals for all golfers on the PGA Tour are way bigger to Tiger has also changed.
Who is? Playing golf when Tiger joined the tour, it was still very much a US based tour. The reason that you see so many Koreans, so many Chinese players, so many players from Asia, you talk to people from the Philippines and Thailand who is a golfer. You watch growing up Tiger.
He's brought so many people from all over the world into the game. And so in that respect, he's done an amazing job diversifying the game, growing the game. There's a lot that needs to be done to make it more accessible to everybody. But that's more than a one man job, even if that man is Tiger Woods.
All right, so we know that part of who Tiger Woods is is obviously being a great golfer, arguably the greatest, but he's also, as of this recording, about to turn 45, as he says, just a few years away from the Champions tour, which is the old folks league.
And what I think has been one of the most unexpected things we've realized making the show. It's that Tiger's next chapter. Well, it's completely wide open.
Yeah, it's pretty incredible to think about how for maybe the first time in Tiger's entire life, being the best at golf isn't the only thing ahead.
He's got the world at his fingertips and he's been experimenting with all kinds of next steps.
Right. For one thing, there's Tiger's foundation, the TTR Foundation. It's existed in different iterations since Tiger founded it in the 90s with his dad, Earl.
The foundation is focused on education, specifically helping underserved students in STEM and college access programs. Here's Tiger with Charlie Rose in 2017 talking about it.
What we're doing here with the foundation and helping these kids is is literally going to change the perception and the reality of their lives and make it so much better, not only for them, but their entire families and their communities. And eventually that just spreads like wildfire. And we're trying to do it at the grassroots level. And it's been been fun these last these last 20 years has been fun. But these next 20 and beyond are going to be just absolutely incredible.
In addition to philanthropy, Tiger also has a business side to keep Tiger busy, which includes everything from designing golf courses to my favorite of Tiger's pet projects, the Woods Jupiter Tigers restaurant in Florida.
And I know you're eager to check it out, Jordan.
Oh, yeah. I think it actually looks super good. There's a picture of prosciutto on the website.
Just really gets me every time.
I do love that Tiger has a restaurant and he's just trying different things out.
Yeah, he's even writing. Well, kind of. Tiger has a memoir coming out in 2021. It's called Back As in I'm Back Slash. I've had back surgeries a lot.
He's reportedly teamed up with the same Pulitzer Prize winning ghostwriter who worked on Andre Agassi's very revealing memoir and Nike co-founder Phil Knight's best selling memoir, too.
So maybe Tiger is really ready to open up and explore his feelings toward golf, the media and fame. We'll see.
I actually think we're going to get to know Tiger better through what he chooses to do when he retires from his sport.
I mean, he presumably will stop playing competitive golf eventually and he'll get to forge a new path. And Albert, there's another part of Tiger's future that we haven't mentioned yet.
He may be stepping into Earl's shoes.
He's starting to get into it. And you start to understand how to play. He's asking me the right questions.
That's Tiger on golf TV talking about how his 11 year old son, Charlie Woods, has been getting into golf.
Yeah, Charlie's been winning some junior tournaments. And from the glimpses that have surfaced, we can see that Charlie has a natural swing and even a grip. That kind of brings to mind a certain teenage amateur who was turning heads in the 90s. Yep.
Tiger has been coaching, Charlie, sometimes even caddying, and he's clearly enjoying the role.
I've kept it competitive with his car. And so it's been just an absolute blast to go out there and just, you know, be with him and spent so much of me and my dad growing up.
Albert, it always comes back to Earl, doesn't it? It does. Earl has always been such a prominent figure in Tiger's story. And look, Earl had his faults. He was a heavy drinker and a compulsive exaggerator, among other things. But there was no question about Earl's devotion to Tiger. And when you see Tiger and Charlie not only in their hogge at the 2010 Masters, but in how they interact on the course, you see that same bond.
It's clear that in his role as a dad for Charlie and Sam, Tiger is taking all the lessons he learned from not just Earl, but also Teda.
Would you be the golfer you are without your dad? No. You would not be the champion that you became without my dad or my mother. And there's no Losada. There's no way. Here, Tiger is once again in conversation with Charlie Rose back in 2016, in this interview, Tiger talked about role, gave him the gift of golf and how he still feels his dad's presence on the golf course to this day.
He also mentions how Tito stood by him during his wlos. Elan also comes up.
Tiger talks about how his ex-wife and the mother of his kids remains a key part of his life as a dad, even after everything the two went through as a couple.
In the end, Elin is my ex-wife. She's one of my best friends. We've had two beautiful kids and we have better communication than we've ever had. So it was rough to go through. But in the end, you know, here we are better than we've ever been.
How do you tell your kids when mom and dad do not live together? It is because Daddy made some mistakes.
Daddy made some some mistakes, and I'd much rather have them here for me. And so you sat down and said, I regret what I did. No, no, I don't I haven't said that. I said that everybody makes mistakes. And the reason why Mom is living in her house and Daddy's living in his house is because daddy made mistakes and it's OK. But you know what? You guys are so lucky to have two parents who love you so much.
Not everyone has that. You know, that that to me, I think is important in the end, is that my kids know that no matter what happens, that they always have dad. Dad will always be there and mom will always be there. It's just that we just don't live together physically but emotionally and spiritually.
We were always there with Jordan. We've been on this long search for the real tiger. And to me, whenever we hear Tiger talk about his family and fatherhood, it feels like the closest we've come to finding him.
For decades, Tiger has been subject to our expectations and projections. He was the Messiah, our most inspirational golfer, and then he was someone to vilify a tabloid joke until he rose from the ashes and gave us the ultimate comeback.
These dramatic chapters are still part of the Tiger Woods story, but now that story is no longer for us to tell.
It's Tiger's turn to.
all-American is a production from Stitcher. This show was made by me, Jordan Bell and Albert Chen. Jeanna Palmer is our story editor. Our senior producer is Abigail Keel. Our executive producers are Chris Banan and Daisy Rosario. Casey Holford makes this episode and composed our theme music thanks to Lindsey Kratovil for her time at Purtell Skills, Peter Clowney for editing support. And to our fact checker, Kelvyn Bias. I also want to thank some special people for their support and help making this show.
Thanks to Andrew Chugg, Pam and Larry Bell, Jared Arnold, Chuck Palmer, Olivia Hofman, Stephanie Kariuki, Nick Duey, Tammy Fact, Bentley, Butler Souce, Jennie Burish, Sookie Maroney, Dave Sidell, Ashley Warren, our marketing team and all of my wonderful and supportive co-workers at Stitcher. And I'd like to thank Andrea Wub, Leo Channe, Alex Chang, Greg Kirschling, Gabe Miller and Emma Morgenstern and the entire amazing all American team said season one is over.
Well, next week we'll be dropping a special bonus episode where we talk about Tiger and the 2020 Masters. Don't miss it. If you enjoyed season one of American, please remember to subscribe, rate and review the show. It helps new listeners find us. We'd also love to hear from you. You can email us with your questions and ideas for season two at all-American at Stitcher Dotcom. The email works now. Thanks so much for listening. All right.
Albert. Hello. One last hey, Albert. Hi, Albert. Hey, Jordan.