Tiger Woods Marks Induction Into Golf Hall Of Fame With Emotional Speech

Mason Joseph Zimmer
Tiger Woods speaking during his induction into the golf hall of fame
Getty Images | Sam Greenwood

Even those with no interest in the world of golf can recognize Tiger Woods and that has a lot to do with the legacy he's built since he first turned pro in 1996.

Although his road to the top has been rocky in many ways, he has nonetheless maintained his position as one of the greatest to ever play the game. And that greatness was finally enshrined with his induction into the golf Hall of Fame on March 9.

But as he told it in his emotional acceptance speech, it would be a mistake to assume that his ascent into becoming a sports legend was anything close to being all fun and games.

Although it featured some lighthearted moments, Woods' daughter Sam took a moment to get serious when she formally introduced his induction.

In particular, she spoke about his journey to recovery after he suffered a life-threatening car accident in February of 2021.

As USA Today reported, she said, "We didn't know if you'd come home with two legs or not. Now not only are you about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but you're standing here on your own two feet. This is why you deserve this; because you're a fighter."

And after he stepped on stage to thunderous applause, he accepted an award that's been decades in the making.

Not only did he make history as the first man of color to win at Augusta National Golf Club during the 1997 Masters, but the became the youngest player to win four consecutive major championships at the age of 24 in 2000.

From there, he continued to rack up accolades, which included winning 82 PGA Tour titles throughout his career and gaining the award for PGA Tour Player of the Year 11 times.

Notably, his win in the 2008 U.S. Open came while his leg was broken and he had recently undergone spinal fusion before winning the Masters for the fifth time in 2019.

And if that makes it sound like he's pushed himself to an almost absurd degree throughout his career, his acceptance speech made it clear that he's been doing that ever since he started.

Tiger Woods speaking during his induction into the golf hall of fame
Getty Images | Sam Greenwood

As he put it, "I made practicing so difficult, hurt so much, because I wanted to make sure that I was ready come game time. I hit thousands of balls, hands bleeding, aching, just so that I could play in a tournament."

That work ethic was instilled in him by his father Earl, who told him that he would have to be twice as good as everyone else to be given half a chance.

His father had based this reasoning on the experience of Charlie Sifford, the first Black member of the PGA Tour. Woods would go on to name his son Charlie after him.

Tiger Woods posing for cell phone photo with mother Kultida
Getty Images | Sam Greenwood

And indeed, Woods also spoke of the sacrifices his parents had to make for him to even enter a position where his own work could pay off.

After explaining that they had taken out a second mortgage to fund his winning runs in the sport's amateur circuit, he wept while expressing his gratitude and respect to his mother Kultida and his late father.

In his words, "The sacrifices of Mom who took me to all those junior golf tournaments, and Dad, who's not here, but who instilled in me this work ethic to fight for what I believe in, chase after my dreams."

h/t: USA Today