Saturday, July 2, 2016

On Toddler Tiger and the Ubiquity of Video

I was browsing YouTube the other day and stumbled across excerpts from Tiger Woods' national TV debut. It's a famous story: At age 2, Tiger appeared on The Mike Douglas Show in a segment that included his father, the host, plus Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart. Footage from that appearance isn't hard to find; I'd seen it before. It's been used in television commercials and in video segments many times. You've almost surely seen it before, too:

And it occurred to me after running across li'l Woods again - and it's not an original thought, to be sure - just how amazing well- and thoroughly documented the lives of today's youth are compared to those of people who grew up in the 1980s and earlier. Or, heck, even the 1990s.

Once upon a time, it wasn't that easy for parents to film their children. Depending on the family's income level, it might not be possible at all. Even if it was, the process of filming, developing film, showing the film was ... what's the word ... bulky.

But today, with very high-quality video capabilities literally at everyone's fingertips (or at least at the fingertips of those who own mobile devices), there will never again be a golf prodigy or future golf star whose earliest efforts in the game aren't well-documented and shared online in real time. Of course, we won't know who those people are in real-time, but in later years there'll be a trove of video. There'll be almost too much of it out there.

The Woodses and Mickelsons - they might be last generation of truly great golfers whose earliest days in golf are seen mostly in grainy home movie clips and faded Polaroids.

Luckily, Tiger was so famous (locally, at first, later nationally) from a young age that more video exists of young Mr. Woods than most of his contemporaries. A few years after the footage above was shot, Woods appeared, in the early 1980s, on the TV shot That's Incredible:

Here he is at age 14 on a show called TransWorld Sports:

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