Tiger Woods: The most influential Asian American?

Update 18 June: News media are reporting Tiger Woods will miss the rest of this year’s golf season because he needs more surgery on his left knee. That’s a big bummer, but not surprising, given how he grimaced after many of his tee-offs. I almost winced with empathy pain as he twisted his knee each time.

Everyone’s favorite hapa/Asian American, Tiger Woods, is important enough news to accomplish a pretty impressive feat.

I’m not just talkin’ clinching the U.S. Open Championship in a nail-biting last round and sudden death match against Rocco Mediate. I’m talkin’ about pushing up the publication date of one of the most popular magazines in the country, Sports Illustrated.

MinOnline.com reports that the July 23 issue of the mag, which had been scheduled to hit the newsstands with a Woods cover on Wednesday, was rushed to the printers early, and is already out, one day after the golf superstar’s victory.

You gotta wonder what SI’s plan B was going to be if Tiger had lost — they may have kept Woods on the cover and the story would have been about how close he was. But the better story, if Woods had lost, would have been how Mediate, at 45, was the oldest U.S. Open winner, the oldest player to ever win a major for the first time, and the only player to beat Woods when Tiger had a lead going into the final round.

I’m not a golf fan by any means, but Tiger fascinates me because he’s so good, and because of his hapa heritage. I wonder how much of his success can be credited to cultural values from his Asian side.

On top of that, this match was so intense — and Woods so awesome, especially Sunday, in spite of his recent knee surgery and obvious pain — that I was glued both to the TV, and yesterday at work, to the computer screen, watching the live stream of the extra round. I was thrilled to have seen some of the shots (even the unintended one he made on Sunday).

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One Response to Tiger Woods: The most influential Asian American?

  1. Lois Hashimoto says:

    Hi, Gil,

    Here’s what Tiger had to say about his ethnicity:

    Your old friend Lois

    Tiger Woods On Race



    The purpose of this statement is to explain my heritage for the benefit of members of the media who may be seeing me play for the first time. It is the final and only comment I will make regarding the issue.

    My parents have taught me to always be proud of my ethnic background. Please rest assured that is, and always will be, the case – past, present, and future.

    The media has portrayed me as African-America; sometimes, Asian. In fact, I am both.

    Yes, I am the product of two great cultures, one African-American and the other Asian.

    On my father’s side, I am African-American. On my mother’s side, I am Thai. Truthfully, I feel very fortunate, and EQUALLY PROUD, to be both African-American and Asian!

    The critical and fundamental point is that ethnic background and/or composition should NOT make a difference. It does NOT make a difference to me. The bottom line is that I am an American…and proud of it!

    That is who I am and what I am. Now, with your cooperation, I hope I can just be a golfer and a human being.



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