While protests of police brutality against African-Americans have spread across the United States, PGA Tour players have begun to speak up about the death of George Floyd. Tiger Woods, who infrequently opines on social or civic issues, joined the chorus Monday evening, tweeting a statement that invoked memories from the L.A. riots, and saying “education is the best path forward.”
Woods, who grew up in Southern California, has often spoke of his upbringing in a biracial household with his Thai mother, Tida, and his African-American father, Earl. In 1992, Woods was was 16 when the riots broke out following the beating of Rodney King and subsequent acquittal of four police officers who were involved. Woods referenced those riots in his statement.
“My heart goes out to George Floyd, his loved ones and all of us who are hurting right now,” Woods said. “I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement. They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line. I remember the LA riots and learned that education is the best path forward. We can make our points without burning the very neighborhoods that we live in. I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society.”
Woods joins a handful of other Tour pros who have made public statements in lieu of the protests. Patrick Rodgers was among the first, posting on Instagram with the caption “I have a voice, and this is a time and a matter to use it. #black lives matter.” Harold Varner, one of the few African-American players on Tour, called for social justice and unity in a lengthy statement posted to his social media accounts.
The PGA Tour retweeted both statements from Woods and Varner but has yet to issue a statement of its own.