As a young biracial man in a largely Caucasian hometown and sport, Tiger Woods was the victim of hateful slurs and even physical violence, he claims in his new tell-all.
When the golfer, now 41, was a small child in Cypress, California, the neighbors began attacking his mixed-race family’s home.
“Some of the residents weren’t happy…and threw things at the house — lemons, limes, rocks,” Woods recalls in his new book, The 1997 Masters: My Story, which covers his first major championship win and life off the course.
The behavior finally stopped when Woods’ half-brothers confronted the perpetrators.
“Kevin and Earl Jr. went over to the house where the people who took exception to our moving in lived, knocked on the door, and had a little discussion to clear up the situation,” he writes. “They didn’t throw rocks at the house anymore.”
But the racism continued on the golf course as Woods excelled in the sport.
“I’d been hearing things in tournaments since I was seven or eight years old,” he reveals. “People said things to me between green and tee, when they could get close to me. I saw but didn’t see. I heard but didn’t hear.”
“I thought people who were saying nasty things were fools. Why were they doing that? Did they think they could get to me? They couldn’t.”
The star’s headstrong father Earl, who died in 2006, taught his son to toughen up by cussing at him while he hit balls.
“F*** off, Tiger,” Woods claims his father said. “You little piece of s**t. How do you feel being a little n****r?”
“It was some good stuff,” he says, “and eventually, I started laughing at it.”
Sadly, Woods has faced many public racist comments throughout his two-decade career.
As recently as 2013, Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia made a derogatory comment when asked if he would host the pro at that year’s U.S. Open.
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