Cheyenne Woods: More Than Tiger Woods’ Niece

The female golf phenom carves out her own lane on the green

Though imbued with her family’s golf legacy, Cheyenne Woods is making a name for herself. With 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Individual Golf Champion, four-time letterman, winner of over 30 amateur titles, MVP, and Wake Forest single-season scoring average record holder all on her scorecard, the label of “Tiger Woods’ niece” will come as a far afterthought of the Major Championship titles Cheyenne will achieve in her professional career.

As current captain of Wake Forest women’s golf team, this ambitious, intelligent, music- loving co-ed takes no prisoners on the course, winning the ACC title by seven strokes. With a grandfather that trained arguably one of the greatest golfers of all-time, Cheyenne continues a family tradition of dominating the golf world, blazing the trail for young women that will be inspired to follow in her footsteps. As her uncle challenged the White male hegemony of the greats of game, expect the 21-year-old to continue to diversify the sport and motivate a breed of precocious Black female golfers who will take the green by force. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Cheyenne while she was home in Phoenix catching up on some mid-western sun.

How did you get started in golf?

My family tells me I picked up my first club when I was about three-years-old. My grandfather [Earl Woods] had the greatest impact on my start in golf. He bought my first set of clubs and set me up with lessons at about five-years-old and I’ve been playing ever since.

Did you feel any pressure, following in your uncle Tiger’s footsteps?

Yes. I grew up with the Woods name and having the spotlight on me because of that, so I have gotten used to the media attention and the expectations that people have for me. When I was younger I always loved people watching me. I loved the cameras following me and having to play under pressure.

Was having that pressure on you ever a problem or did it propel you to excel all the more?

Having the Woods name was never a huge problem for me or an obstacle for me to get over until I got to Wake Forest. During my freshman year, it was a big ordeal that Tiger Woods’ niece was playing collegiate golf so there was a lot of media attention on me. The cameras following me around from tournament to tournament, in addition to being in a new environment and not really knowing a lot of people, made it difficult for me to start college with so much going on. Nonetheless, I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with it now and I think it has helped me get ready for the next level, when I’ll be in the professional spotlight and it will be a lot more intense.

What’s been the best piece of advice your uncle has given you in regards to competitive golf?

Growing up, something I always remember him telling me was, “Go out there and kick butt!” I learned the most from him just by observing and being around him. I had the opportunity to see just how much hard work it takes to really get to that level. I certainly try to take on his work ethic and use it myself.

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