The major story lines?
He’ll play in an electric group on Thursday and Friday with the No. 2 and No. 3 golfers in the world, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. Sergio Garcia, he says, still has not personally apologized for his statement about making peace with Tiger after a recent spat by making him fried chicken. And a win this week would put him three majors behind the all-time leader, Jack Nicklaus.
But a member of the media at Tuesday’s noon press conference, amid the history and paegentry of Merion’s mystique related to Bobby Jones, asked Tiger to reflect on African-American pioneers Calvin Peete and Charlie Sifford and their impact on his life.
Said Tiger, “[They] led the way for the likes of Lee Elder. It was a tough time for Charlie to go through what he went through, but he paved the way for a lot of us to be where we’re at.
“I know my dad probably wouldn’t have picked up the game if it wasn’t for what Charlie did.”
Woods is enjoying a stellar 2013, in which he’s reestablished himself as the No. 1 golfer in the world. For some, he may not be all the way back from the knee injury that caused him to rebuild his swing until he wins a major. At any rate, he has four wins in eight starts this year, including a win at the Players’ Championship last month.
On the business front, Woods was reported to be on the cusp of a brand new deal with Nike, which was to make him one of the richest endorsers in sports. It was not clear Tuesday if a deal had been reached, but Nike did release a 30-second spot recently which had Tiger swinging a driver, and another to promote the new TW ’14 golf shoe.
But on Tuesday, the focus — for just a little while — was on the legacy of African- American achievement in which Woods follows.
“I’ve always called him my grandpa, the grandpa I never really had,” Woods said of Sifford. “I’ve gotten to know him through the years and it’s been fantastic. We owe a lot to him and all the pioneers that have paved the way for us to be here.”