The press seems to focus on Tiger Woods the golfer, which is natural because he is an iconic sports figure.
Woods just completed in his first tournament this season, the Genesis Invitational. He made the cut and finished one under, tied for 45th, with rounds of 69, 74, 67 and 73.
Woods only played three PGA Tour events in 2022, the Masters, the PGA Championship and Open Championship. He didn’t make the cut at the Open, withdrew from the PGA and place 47th in the Masters.
His last win before his February 2021 car accident was in Japan 2019.
His injuries from the car accident were so severe, that an amputation of his right leg was considered.
Walking the course the last few days, seems to be a struggle for Woods because of his ankle injury and plantar fascia.
His perseverance to continue playing shows why he is a champion.
The 47-year-old was asked by media on Tuesday “If you’re 60 and you don’t wake up with the irrational belief, I could win this tournament, could you still enjoy it?”
“There will come a point in time when my body will not allow me to do that anymore, and it’s probably sooner rather than later, but wrapping my ahead around that transition and being the ambassador role and just trying to be out here with the guys, no, that’s not in my DNA,” Woods said. “Ambassador role in hosting events like this, in hosting the Genesis Invitational or the Hero.”
The other side of Woods, his devotion to the youth and the military, largely goes unrecognized.
Since he has become tournament host, members of the military have access to a large pavilion located off Hole 10 on the Riviera Course. (Many of the pavilions on the golf course are sponsored by corporations and serve as a “private” club.)
Woods, through his friendship with Robert Sanchez of Hexadyne, has given members of military a place that provides food, drinks and a place to view golf during the Genesis. Prior tournaments did not provide those amenities.
Woods father, Earl, was a U.S. Army Infantry officer who served two tours of duty in South Vietnam and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Tiger, born Eldrick, received his nickname from his father’s wartime friendship with Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Dang “Tiger” Phong, an officer who has served in the Army of the Republic of Vietnams.
Woods helps youth through the TGR Foundation.
The foundation helps youth from disadvantaged background by providing classes, mentorships and opportunities. The Foundation also sponsors an Earl Woods Scholar Program.
Miguel Jimenez, a senior in high school and a participant of the TGR foundation, served as the announcer on Tee 1 at the Genesis on Saturday morning.
It was his first time at the tournament and the Riviera. He was accompanied by his father, mother and sister—and Bell High School coach Alfred Aviles.
Aviles also brought two of his players, who were excited to be at the Genesis and hoped to watch Tiger. It was their first time at the Genesis or any PGA major tournament.
Additionally, more than 1,000 kids from schools in Southern California attended their first golf tournament on Saturday, through the Tee Off for Youth program.
The program is unique because The Genesis Invitational and donors underwrite all expenses for the youth groups to attend the event, completely free including transportation and food. The kids attending primarily reside in the under-resourced parts of the local communities.
Each kid is greeted with Genesis Invitational merchandise upon arrival and have a reserved bleacher section on 14 green, a picnic lunch and culminated with a golf exhibition at 1 p.m. on the driving range featuring 2023 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption recipient Marcus Byrd.
Some students from TGR Learning Lab multimedia classes were allowed to get a behind the scenes experience of the media center and to meet industry professionals.
TGR “believes everyone can be a champion” by helping youth discover their passions, deepen their knowledge, and build transferable skills. (Visit:tgrfoundation.org)
Tiger Woods might want a Genesis win, but he’s already a champion for so many people.