Tiger Woods’ pro career turned 20 years old this week. His debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open came in August 1996 where he made the cut but didn’t contend for the win.
There was an incredible interview Woods gave that week to Curtis Strange where he discussed what he wanted to do as a pro. The words coming out of Woods’ mouth are far less captivating than the faces Strange makes when Woods says them. It’s as if he’s never experienced a golfer who plays and thinks like Tiger did (and does).
In retrospect, his career is more easily explained. Woods came on to the PGA Tour at a time where players were just trying to make cuts, just trying to grind out money and move on to the next week. Woods didn’t think like that. He didn’t need to. Nike subsidized his career in a way that allowed him to only chase Ws.
Watch what he says to Strange and how Strange reacts here.
“A victory would be awfully nice, too,” said Woods.
“To me that comes off as a little cocky or brash …” said Strange.
“I’ve always figured that why go to a tournament if you’re not going there to try and win? There’s really no point in even going. That’s the attitude I’ve had my entire life, and that’s the attitude I will always have. As I’ve explained to my dad, second sucks. Third is even worse. I want to win. That’s my nature,” Woods responded.
“You’ll learn,” joked Strange.
Tiger laughed. And 79 wins later he’s likely still laughing.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / WATCH: This 1996 Tiger Woods interview explains a lot about his career