Tiger Woods was supposed to change everything. He was altering the landscape, remember, making golf accessible to African-Americans who would one day crash the party in the way they once did in Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA.
It was only a matter of time, people thought, before golf caught up with faces that more genuinely reflected the larger diversity of American society.
Well, despite Tiger’s 20-year run of dominance and 14 Majors, 29-year-old Wyatt Worthington is the first African-American club professional to qualify for the seasons last major since 1991.
Worthington finished sixth at the PGA Club Professional Championship at Turning Stone Resort to earn his first spot in this week’s PGA, his first-ever appearance in a PGA Tour event.
A teaching professional at The Golf Depot at Central Park in Gahanna, Ohio, Worthington told Golf Digest, “It’s like I’m trapped between a dream and a reality this week. To be playing in a major and seeing my dream come true, it’s breathtaking, actually.”
There are a grand total of two Black golfers who’ll be participating in this year’s PGA event, Worthington and Harold Varner III.
As a teenager, Worthington met Woods at a junior clinic in Columbus, Ohio. Tiger offered him some encouraging words back then. He offered many others some encouragement that the game was changing, that doors were opening.
Sadly, they haven’t.