Tiger Woods will be officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame today by his daughter Sam on the eve of this week’s Players Championship.
The 15-time Major winner will be at Tour HQ with his 14-year old daughter hand-picked by Woods to introduce the man many believe to be the greatest golfer of all time (GOAT).
Sam was born just one day after a rare runner-up finish for her dad at a Major – the 2007 US Open – but she was at Augusta National in 2019 to see what all the fuss was about, watching her dad lay claim to a fifth Green Jacket at the Masters.
Asked by our man on the ground, Bernie McGuire to put into words what Woods has meant to the game of golf in the bigger picture, Rory McIlroy perhaps said it best on Tuesday:
“Not totally everything, but I think the game of golf is going to outlive us all. There’s certainly players in the history of the game that they leave their mark more than others. Tiger’s left more of a mark on this game, I think, than anyone else basically in the history, especially since golf has become a profession and professional golfers have become sort of bigger.
“So I think the fact that he is a person of colour and what that brings to the table in terms of golf being a more acceptable sport to play if you’re from a certain ethnic background, I think that has been — that’s left a huge mark on the game. I certainly think the game is more diverse because of him. And just his play in general and the excitement he created around the game of golf, he was, I’d say in his pomp in early 2000s, he was probably the most famous man in the world.
“We, as his colleagues and peers, we’ve all benefited from that. He made golf, professional golf at the highest level a very, very attractive thing to be involved in. TV paid more. Sponsors paid more. And then all of a sudden, his peers and colleagues and other players were getting paid more because of that.
“I think we all have to be very thankful for Tiger Woods and when he came along, and we should all be very fortunate that we played at a time that he was around because we’ve all benefited from him.”
Not the only inductee on the night, Hall of Famer Davis Love III will welcome retired PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to the club, while three-time US Women’s Open champion Susie Maxwell Berning will be introduced by Judy Rankin.
Former US Women’s Amateur champion and renowned course designer and architect, Marion Hollins, who died in 1944, will also be belatedly inducted into golf’s Hall of Fame as the fourth member of the class of 2022.