interview following his upset to Y.E. Yang yesterday. Mr. Yang, the first Asian player to win a major championship, hails from South Korea.
In his recent column at PGAtour.com John Maginnes assesses the talent pool in the golfing field, raising the question of who will challenge Tiger Woods. Arguing that there is a “maturation process in golf at the highest level”, Maginnes concludes that it is not a single individual of apt status and caliber that Tiger faces. Rather he foresees a “progression” towards that maturity among several young players.
One such contender in this new generation is Anthony Kim, a Korean American. Anthony already has two PGA wins in his roster, including last year’s AT&T National. But apparently, Tiger is back; he takes the prize and Anthony lands at runner-up slot in this year’s AT&T National. Still, this year’s competition brings twenty four year old Anthony closer to the path of such progression.
While it may take a while for one solid contender to emerge, it is interesting that to note that it is master himself who has inspired this new breed of golfers destined to succeed the master. “In grade school and high school they watched him dominate the 1997 Masters and said, ‘I want to be just like him.’” Be patient but hold your head high, Anthony!
There’s a myriad of intricacies other than racial or ethnic identity that govern us and the lot multiplies as the world shrinks at an ever-accelerating pace. Factor in age, retirement, media access and exposure, sports, and shopping, for example. Was it then truly non-kosher or just too pretentious for Tiger Woods to identify his own intricacy as ‘multi-cultural’? Or, is it just human nature that less complex tagging should command broader acceptance—‘black or white’, ‘red or blue’, ‘with us or against us’?
My mother was a fan of Tiger Woods. In late retirement, my parents (now deceased) preferred to stick to just one TV network. Discerning those tiny buttons on the clicker was too complex for their glaucoma-stricken sights. That may have precipitated their increased exposure to Tiger’s winning matches. Even so, Mom may have opted to shut the power or join my dad in his usual afternoon nap. I find it fascinating then that she would have been so besotted by Mr. Woods.
True, Tiger has Asian heritage and she may have identified with him. Still, in her frail eighties, and with no sports background (gardening was her chosen form of exercise in her heydays), my mom was apparently captured. She watched Tiger’s matches whenever they were broadcasted on that channel. She even asked my dad to scavenge for a putter in one of their estate sale shopping adventures. (I have not been told whether she did in fact initiate any attempt to land a hole or two in their tiny living room.)
What part of me is Asian, and what part, American? This complexity ranks as high in the level of my dilemma of understanding what part of my genome is borne from my dad and what comes from my mom. I concur with Tiger when he finagled his way out of such verbose but less appealing propositions: “The bottom line is that I am an American and proud of it."