This interview from 1990 will tell you what motivated Tiger to succeed.
This seven minute recording was filmed at the Navy Golf Club, Cypress, California when Tiger was just 14 years old. Even the interviewer seems to be aware of the unique nature of Tiger’s character, probing his instinctive manner with questions about the future and the issues he’d faced in a white dominated sport.
He was asked if he felt any prejudice on the course. Tiger’s response was immediate- “everytime I go to a major country club, I always feel it, I always sense it, people always staring at you- what you doing here? You shouldn’t be here!”
The realisation that golf needed kicking into the 21st century clearly motivated the teenager. “Since I’m black I might be even bigger than Jack Nicklaus, I might sort of be like a Michael Jordan in basketball.”
Colin Montgomerie holds nothing back as he predicts Tiger’s first Major success.
It’s difficult to deny the charm of Tiger’s self-assured demeanor, it was like the interviewer knew he was talking to a future champion. “In five years time do you think you’re going to be up there with the Seves the Normans, the big guys battling for the money?”
“No I won’t be up there with them, they might be a little over the hill by the time I get there.” Cheeky git! The smile that followed gives us a glimpse of that forgivably arrogant sense of humour. He then goes on to predict the future, stating with certainty that Phil Mickelson and David Duval will be his competition.
The 14-time major winner also mentioned the golfers that inspired him- “Greg Norman and Nick Faldo, I like the aggressiveness of Norman and the consistency of Faldo”. Well he certainly embodied those characteristics in a career that saw him at number one for a total of 683 weeks.
The interview is full of examples of what type of mental toughness is required to succeed. As Tiger alludes, “I don’t show too much on the outside, I don’t know why that is.” Dedicating your life to the game must be mentally exhausting and having a father who maps out your future would be tough. Making the adjustment in your private life would be the greatest challenge of all, what it takes to win and what it takes to live aren’t always the same thing