December 19, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Tiger Woods reacting to Cameron Kuchar draining a long putt on the 17th green during the final round of the PNC Championship Golf Tournament at the Grande Lakes Orlando course. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper – USA TODAY Sports

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March 8 (Reuters) – Tiger Woods, who inspired a generation of players with his otherworldly talent, charisma and staggering success, took his place among the game’s greats on Wednesday as he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

During a ceremony at the PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Woods gave a speech about his career and those who helped him along the way after his 14-year-old daughter, Sam, presented for induction.

Woods, 46, became emotional as he recounted the time his parents took out a second mortgage on their home – a mortgage he will later pay off – so that at the age of 14 he could compete on the circuit of the American Junior Golf Association.

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“You have to understand that I got this job because of my upbringing, having two amazing parents,” Woods said. “I know golf is an individual sport, we do a lot of things on our own, for hours on end, but in my case, I didn’t do it alone.

“I have amazing parents, mentors and friends who…supported me through the toughest, darkest times and celebrated the most beautiful times.”

A handful of other PGA Tour players who all compete in the Players Championship starting Thursday were in attendance, including Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

Ever since Woods appeared on television on the Mike Douglas Show at the age of two, showing off his raw putting skills alongside Bob Hope, he was expected to produce the remarkable.

The American, whose career is on hold as he recovers from serious leg injuries sustained in a car accident in February 2021, has risen above the hype and eventually become one of the most popular sports personalities. famous in the world.

‘BURNING DESIRE’

After a successful career in junior, college and amateur golf, Woods turned pro in 1996 and earned just his fifth PGA Tour start, redefining a game that had never been dominated by a black golfer and elevating the golfers athletics bar.

“Playing on some of these golf courses I wasn’t allowed into the clubs where all the other juniors were, the color of my skin demanded it, and as I got older that pushed me even further. “Woods said.

Woods was successful the moment he burst onto the scene as a professional and as the popularity of the sport grew so did the prize money paid out at PGA Tour events.

He has won 93 world events, including a PGA Tour record 82, and his 15 major championships trail only the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods is also the only modern professional to win all four major golf titles in succession, winning the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000 and the Masters in 2001, a feat that became known during the Tiger Slam.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom following his victory at the 2019 Masters, after years of surgeries and personal issues that convinced many that the best golfer of his generation was over.

“What drove me was the passion to play golf. I would never be turned down from playing. I love it,” Woods said.

“One of the things Dad instilled in me was that he grew up in the same era as Charlie Sifford where you had to be twice as good to be half as lucky.”

Woods was inducted alongside 11-time LPGA winner Susie Maxwell Berning, former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and the late Marion Hollins, who broke barriers as one of the few women to develop golf courses in the history of the sport.

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Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Additional reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Robert Birsel

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