What Harold Varner III has to say about being an African-American golfer may surprise you

Sharon Wong

harold varner III
Source: Golf Week
Sometimes, motivation isn’t just skin-deep. We mean this as literally as possible in Harold Varner III’s case. He is only the second player of African-American descent since Tiger Woods broke into the scene in 1996, having earned his PGA Tour card by at the Web.com tour. Lest you should start to think of him as another symbolic figurehead of diversity in the lily-white PGA Tour scene, Varner is quick to set the record straight. He was never here to be Tiger Woods II.

“I want to inspire all races. I don’t think Tiger really motivated me – I didn’t see Tiger as a black or white thing. I just know he was the best player and he happened to be black.”

We do agree that Tiger is not neither black or white, but a bit of both and a lot of other things too. Yet he’s been pigeonholed as the first “black” player at the PGA Tour in order to fit a narrow, media-friendly niche that never quite encompassed who he was. Although his own ethnic background is nowhere near as eclectic as Tiger’s, Varner hopes to avoid this shallow categorization of his person.

“If me playing golf brings more African-Americans to the game, then the more the merrier. But I want to bring all types of people to the game. That’s my goal. But I had never seen it like a black or white thing.”

From his broad-minded statements, Harold Varner III has shown he is not here to cater to anyone’s perceptions of him. He’s just a driven, talented man who wants to play good golf, just like many of his white compatriots.