I was sitting in my living room at home in Arizona, watching Tiger play, as I did every Sunday.
However, this Sunday was much different than any other I had watched. Little did I know how memorable this day would be.
It was 1997, and Tiger Woods was about to win his first Masters.
I was 6 years old, just beginning to get into golf and grow my love for the game. Neither of my parents were golfers, so we simply watched to support and cheer on Tiger. At the time, I didn’t understand how monumental this win was. Honestly, I just thought it was so cool that my uncle was on TV, and I could brag about it the next day at school.
The fact that he was the youngest and the first non-white to win the Masters never registered with me until I was much older. Looking back, this was a transcendent moment for the game of golf. It was bigger than the sport. Tiger had won at a place where non-whites were excluded as members until 1990. At the time, a moment like that was hard for me to comprehend.
However, what I could comprehend was a member of my family on TV kicking everyone’s butt. A moment from that afternoon I will always remember is the image of my grandfather, Earl, and Tiger embracing on the 18th green. That image represents so much love and support. To be a 6-year-old sitting at home and see my “Grandpa” right there on TV made me feel much more connected with that moment. The image of Tiger hugging my grandfather on that final hole is one that still gives me goose bumps.
Growing up watching Tiger have such success at the Masters, winning four times, I have always wanted to see Augusta National for myself. The anticipation and excitement – and nerves – are growing as Masters Week approaches because I’ll finally get to Augusta as a correspondent for Back9Network.
I’ve heard year after year from friends, coaches and teammates how amazing it is to be at the Masters. I am so grateful for the opportunity to finally be able to experience this for myself this year.
This is not your ordinary PGA Tour event; this is the Masters!
So many things run through my mind as I try to prepare for this big week. What should I wear? How should I wear my hair? What souvenirs should I buy?
Perhaps I think most about the promise for the future. Augusta National welcomed the first two women to become members of their club late last year in former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. Women have always been a few years behind in terms or equality and opportunity in athletics. It’s a huge statement, for a club as traditional as Augusta National, to finally make this move.
It makes me wonder what other possibilities there could be for women at Augusta – maybe an LPGA event? I could only dream.