Saying that I’ve been watching sports since I was born in 1993 would be a lie. Since I figured out sports exist, I’ve kept track of who has stood out. The best estimate would be 1997. Each era in Sports earns an iconic figure, one who differentiates heavily from the pack. So each Friday (starting today) I’ll be counting down the most iconic athlete from 1997-2017. So without further ado, let’s get started:
1997 Eldrick “Tiger” Woods
I didn’t know about the sport of Golf until I heard of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. Maybe it was because he was black, maybe it was because he oozed greatness, possibly a combination of the two. But that didn’t matter, Tiger had Golf back on the global scale for the first time since Arnold Palmer swung 9-irons.
In 1997, Woods won the Masters Tournament in record-shattering fashion. At only 21 years of age, Woods won the Masters by 12-strokes at Augusta National Park. Woods became the first African American to do win the Masters Tournament. The fact that African Americans weren’t allowed to join Augusta National until Ron Townsend in 1990 made the win even more sweet for Woods.
Clifford Roberts, the creator of the tournament believed that “golfers will be white and caddies will be black”. Woods would forever change the narrative. This was the first career major win for Woods, propelling him to become the most decorated player that season. Woods swept the field winning PGA Player of the Year, PGA Tour Player of the Year and the PGA Tour leading money winner for 1997. Woods achieved with class, and everyone knew his name from there on out, simply iconic.