Opinion: Five biggest takeaways from ESPN’s powerful Tiger Woods documentary

ESPN aired its smart and remarkable documentary “Tiger Woods: America’s Son” on Sunday. It’s one of the best docs ESPN has ever done.

I wrote about the documentary last week and watching it again didn’t make it any less striking. It’s the first of two examinations of Woods airing within a month. The second debuts in December on HBO.

HBO has a lot to live up to as ESPN set the gold standard on Woods, documentaries and race.

Here are the five most significant takeaways:

‘If you look Black, you are Black’

In many ways, the core of the documentary orbits around one sentence spoken by one of the Black interviewees when he says: “In this country, if you look Black, you are Black.”

We watch Woods morph from his younger self who seems to strongly believe this, and an older version, who seems to distance himself from the notion, and sees himself as multi-ethnic (which of course he is). He’d invented the term Cablinasian.

This is where the documentary is at its best. It’s a racial deep dive discussion into how Woods sees himself, how we see Woods, and how those opinions have morphed and changed over the decades.

History of Black golfers is fascinating

Discussion about the history of Black golfers is fascinating and likely something most people don’t know. One such story was about Dewey Brown, who became a professional in 1928 but was only able to do so because his light complexion allowed him to pass as white. Someone later reported that he wasn’t and Brown was subsequently kicked out. A whites-only clause was added after that and stood until 1961.

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