by Raynard Jackson
Last Sunday, on my flight back to Washington, DC, I, like millions of people all over the world, was captivated and mesmerized by the play of Tiger Woods during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
As Woods tapped in his final putt to ensure his victory, there was a loud cheer that went up throughout the entire golf course; there was also a very audible cheer that you could hear throughout my plane.
For those of you who don’t follow golf, Tiger Woods had totally dominated golf in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Woods turned pro in 1996 at the age of 20. In 1997 he won his first Masters by a historic 12 strokes, making him the youngest player in history to win this tournament. In his first ten years as a professional, Woods won thirteen majors, which was and is unprecedented.
Tiger was so dominate in golf, that the majors began to redesign golf courses to make them more difficult; thinking this would give Wood’s competitors a better chance of defeating him. This was called “Tiger-proofing.”
During the next decade, Woods encountered all sorts of personal and professional problems; marital infidelity and numerous health issues. Many of Woods detractors and the so-called experts predicted that Tiger would never win another major and was all but washed up.
His Masters win on Sunday was his first major victory in eleven years. Tiger’s victory on Sunday will go down as one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history.
So, while everyone was celebrating Tiger’s improbable comeback on Sunday, my mind drifted in a different direction.
I heard the voice of Whitney Houston singing the 2008 Seoul Olympic theme song, One Moment In Time. One of the versus goes like this: …”I want one moment in time, when I’m more than I thought I could be, when all my dreams are a heartbeat away, and the answers are all up to me, give me one moment in time, when I’m racing with destiny, then in that one moment of time, I will feel free, I will feel eternity.”
For one moment in time, the world and America specifically, didn’t see race; for one moment in time Tiger Woods and America was great again; for one moment in time, Blacks and whites were hi-fiving; for one moment in time, there were no enemies.
What was it about this golf tournament, embodied by Tiger Woods, that gave us a brief respite from all that divides us?
The answer is very simple my friend.
Tiger Woods is the American story of defeat and triumph; sin and redemption; agony and ecstasy.
Oh, and did I tell you that Tiger Woods is also Black? Tiger was celebrated not because he is Black, but because he overcame and excelled.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, this is what makes America great.
America was birthed in sin with its treatment of the Indians who were already here and the importation of Blacks as slaves. We have overcome these issues with the various treaties signed with Indians and the various Civil Rights laws that have been passed to make America more equal.
I know my white conservative friends like reading my columns when I call out radical liberals like Holder. But like in algebra, there are two sides to every equation in a math problem.
Why was Tiger able to excel?
This answer to, my friend, is very simple.
Tiger was able to excel because he knew what the rules were upfront. No one started the match with an advantage.
Income didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. Family linage didn’t matter. Religion didn’t matter. Nationality didn’t matter.
Everyone played on the same golf course. Everyone was subjected to the same weather conditions. Everyone’s equipment was based on the same set of standards.
To qualify for the Masters, either you met the cut-off score or you didn’t.
Once you have established a system based on fairness, then your talents and skills will take you as far as you want to go.
America has come a long way in this regards; but we are a long way from where we ought to be.
What makes America great is that we are on the road to redemption from our past; we still have work to do.
When our justice system treats everyone the same for identical crimes; when our legal system is no longer tilted in favor of those with wealth; when our school systems are not based on one’s zip code; then, maybe we can have that one moment in time.
That one moment in time when “the answers are all up to me…that one moment of time I will feel free, I will feel eternity.”
Raynard Jackson is a Pulitzer Prize nominated columnist and founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.