Cheyenne Woods: The niece of Tiger Woods is on the mission to inspire others


Although the American has not yet won a major tournament and has been ranked 245 in the world, Woods has always attracted attention. He comes with the native land of Tiger Woods, the world-renowned golfer. Since she started playing low tournaments, the cameras followed her. He is impatient with this. He knows there is no other world. There are positive in the interests, he says, and negatively.

"With Tigris' career, taking him a break, getting injured, and now returning, there's always something to talk to, so people are a little curious, which is understandable," says Woods, whose old grandfather, Earl Woods – the father – first sets up a club in her hand, three years old. "Some of my biggest frustrations in my career are always known as relatives in relation to myself. Now I feel that I have my own identity, whether it be the title or not".

Now in its third year at the LPGA Tour, Woods is not just a golf player with a big name. As the 14-year-old great uncle winner is in millions around the world, the 28-year-old wants to be an inspiration to make it easier for black women to follow their course toward tea. "When I grew up, there was no one in the LPGA Tour," said Woods, the sixth African-American woman who won a LPGA Tour, says CNN Sport. "Obviously, I loved watching Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, but as a young child looking at someone with whom I could connect and have a relationship, I felt she was missing."

Four African Americans compete in the LPGA Tour with Mariah Stackhouse, ranked 121 in the world, and Woods is the most important. These numbers do not do much to get rid of the image of a sport for the rich and, above all, white. a sport where Clifford Roberts, co-founder of Augusta National, once said: "As long as I live, the golfers will be white and the caddies will be black."

More than two decades since Tiger Woods won his first major in the 1997 Masters – a tournament that just welcomed his first black player in 1975 – his emergence remains extrovert. Only eight women from Africa are members of the LPGA Tour in its 70-year history. "I think it's important for me to show at least the Tour," says Woods. "To show that it was feasible for Tiger to show me and people like Serena Williams and even the National Women's Basketball Association (WNBA) showed me.

The climate of men's and women's sports … there is great improvement.

"As a young child you see a sport, it looks almost unattainable or too far away, if you can not have a connection or be related to a specialist, that's how I felt at least to discover that this is a step forward, do it myself "or" I want to be like her. "If I can offer this for someone, that's great, or even if I can watch them on golf that's great.

Woods believes there is more diversity in the sport now than when the Tour was first launched in 2014. Programs like The First Tee, he says, helped. The initiative, funded by the largest organs of the game in the USA, transfers the sport to economically disadvantaged areas, helping people aged 7 to 18 years.

But an Afro-American has never won the women's circuit, and this remains the main goal of Woods.

"There has been tremendous progress in the game," he says. "The Tiger has had a tremendous impact on it, but, I think, the various programs that make golf accessible and introduced to it a little more have affected enormous.

"But, we look forward to, there will definitely be [an African-American LPGA winner], either me or Mariah Stackhouse. He is an amazing player from Stanford University and there are many great college players, so that's exciting.

"It's funny, we all know each other, we're all super tight and we are all cheering each other to be great to have that support out there and hope with us now is out on the tour more regularly we can inspire and other young girls ".

Fighting equality

Successful golf women are rewarded well – Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn is head of the LPGA Tour money list this season with $ 2.2 million in prize money – but the generosity offered is slowed by the rewards enjoyed by their male counterparts.

Dustin Johnson, the top field player, has taken home more than $ 7.7 million and has earned more than $ 55 million in prize money during his career.

The recent list of Forbes's top 50 athletes did not include women who, as Woods says, were not surprised. "It was disappointing to see," he adds.

"It's inspiration to see women like Serena who dominate her sport and be so successful. I think it is certainly the inspiration of what is possible but, in general, I think the climate of men's and women's sports and equal pay has been greatly improved. "

There has been progress in golf, he says, and Woods considers the mixed European event in Australia earlier this year, where sponsors have provided equal pay as a success.

Some of the biggest disappointments I've had in my career are always known as someone's relatives.

The key, Woods says, is to give fans the chance to watch women play. "This is a great thing that gives women exposure and gives fans the chance to see the ability and to see the talent, I think we should at least give the fans the chance to watch more TV time but they are not always the top TV spots compared to men, so it's a bit harder. If you give fans the chance to appreciate and watch the game, that would be a good start. "

The long-term influence of a grandfather

Until his death in 2006, Earl Woods would tell his granddaughter that one day he would become a professional golfer. "He really was the one who excited me with the game, he guided me through my inferior career," he recalls honestly.

"Even to this day it is a huge factor in pushing myself to become what I feel I am capable of and what I thought I was capable of, as it is difficult to explain and die when I was in high school but always talked about how did he know I would be on the LPGA round so that he always stuck with me, the belief he had in me at a young age.

It was Earl Woods, a former Green Beret veteran and Vietnam, who was the driving force behind the rise of the Tiger. During a childhood that has passed, the Tiger would dream of daddy conquering the world, rocking the sport. It's rare, Woods admits, because he should not be asked for his famous uncle during an interview. But, on the bright side, who better to seek advice from a former No.1 world with 79 PGA Tour wins and career gains over a billion dollars?

"It has a great inspiration for me," says Woods. "Because I was a professional, I was very helpful, and I was just willing to help, either I was struggling with a series of lost cuts or just needed a tip by putting in. No one else in my family to play golf When someone needs to bounce or try getting some advice was always great.

"I feel that I now have my own identity and I do not feel so much pressure with expectation or something. I still get tons and tons of questions but I feel that it will always be there because of who it is.

"I had a handful of interviews [where there’s no question on Tiger] but they are few and very close. From week to week, I do not have that much attention. But if it's a week of the US Open or, say, I'm on top of the leaderboard, I definitely have more attention than normal, strictly because of my name. I think I almost prosper. My box always jokes that I hit some of my best shots when the TV cameras are there, so maybe I need them a little longer!

"Growing up with interviews and media attention has prepared me when I play my best golf and when I'm in conflict, I think I'm preparing to learn to deal with it or to exclude it or just embrace it. "