How both Scott and Tiger revolutionized their professions
The year in golf started on a sad note with the passing of Stuart Scott, the 49-year-old ESPN sportscaster who infused sports highlights with “booyahs” and an unprecedented hip-hop sensibility.
Scott burst onto our television screens at roughly the same time as Tiger Woods did, and both revolutionized their professions by adding much-needed energy, style, swagger and enthusiasm.
Avid golfer and fellow University of North Carolina alumnus Michael Jordan turned Scott onto golf in the late 1990s, but it was Woods’s “passion, the way he plays” that hooked him.
Although the broadcaster reportedly never broke 80, he famously called golf “crack for men, the only thing that a guy will get up gladly at six in the morning to do.”
Scott was present during the filming of Woods’ famous “hacky sack” commercial and played in a number of Tiger Jams—always using Nike products. “I figure if I look like Tiger,” he told one interviewer, “then perhaps I might eventually play like him.”
Woods reciprocated Scott’s admiration. “Stuart wasn't covering heroes & champions, it was the other way around,” the golfer Tweeted Sunday upon hearing news of his death. “Thinking of my friend & his daughters.”
As anyone who has watched, read or heard about Scott’s passing, his daughters Taelor and Sydni meant everything to him. He even marked his golf balls with the letters T and S.
Scott’s daughters represent his legacy. So too, more relevantly, does the hipper, multicultural mix of sportscasters who now appear on ESPN and other networks, many of whom cite Scott as a role model.
Woods’s legacy—the “Tiger Effect”—has been largely economic (increased television revenue, sponsorships and purses) and athletic (most golfers today have a six-pack instead of looking as if they like drinking one).
He inspired Scott and countless others to pick up the game.
But, almost two decades after Tiger’s epic win at the Masters, how many players of color have joined him on the PGA Tour?
Stuart Scott couldn’t touch Tiger on the golf course, but in terms of changing the complexion of his place of business, he clearly outdrove his friend.
Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com. Jon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.