Tiger Woods: Five Big Cat songs that’ll have you amped for any PGA Tour event

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 16: Tiger Woods of the United States acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 16: Tiger Woods of the United States acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Tiger Woods has enjoyed a resurgence unlike any other in 2019, both on and off the golf course. Here, we take a look back at some of the music he has inspired over the years.

Let’s take a different look at Tiger Woods. No, this isn’t your typical mid-season review. No power rankings, odds, none of that. It’s time to explore outside the usual pigeonhole of preliminary analytics.

Big Cat is a grandfathered cultural icon, so it should come as no surprise that Tiger references of all sorts are woven into music of every genre. Of course, some are dropped in as a lazy metaphor, but others are cleverly crafted like a tough scramble at Pebble Beach. Either way, Tiger’s presence doesn’t stop in just sports–it’s felt in the arts.

There’s plenty of music throughout the early 2000s that tips its hat to the 21st century’s most accomplished golfer. Even in his lowest moments, the cultural icon still found his way into some of the biggest songs of the new millennium.

They’re the kind of references casual golf and music fans alike will shriek over, but still respectable enough for the truest of PGA Tour and Tiger devotees to sing along to every time they’re shuffled to. So in the spirit of peak golf season, and in preparation for potentially GOAT Tiger form, here’s a compulsory review of some playlist staples for any major watch party.

1: So Appalled – Kanye West (2010)

"“‘Cause you haters got PhDs,Y’all just some major haters and some math minors,Tiger Woods, don’t make me grab iron”"

Most Tiger Woods references are lone in stanzas, but “major haters” sets up nicely for the Tiger line. But perhaps grabbing iron is the right idea in this case: Tiger’s 2019 Masters artillery featured a full iron set, and devising that sort of comeback didn’t require a PhD. Yeah, maybe 2010 wasn’t exactly the right year to grab the iron (since Elin handled that the year before). But nine years later, Tiger’s in full game mode, and returning to the site of debatably his greatest win of all time for the U.S. Open is bound to jog his memory.

Released as a part of Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, So Appalled wasn’t the first reference featured on a Kanye tune (it’s one of three, in fact). But the mention isn’t from Kanye himself this time; rather, it comes from artist CyHi The Prynce.

The verse nearly wasn’t meant to be — Cyhi snuck it onto the song before Kanye tested it out in front of a group of credible musicians. The reaction? Good enough for the verse to make a harsh Kanye cut.

2: Warrior – Nelly (2008)

"“Every time they doubted me like Tiger Woods,But I kept comin’ back like Tiger would”"

A promotional tune for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the only athlete who received a shoutout would be Tiger Woods himself–eight years before golf returned to the Olympics. Out of place? Not quite: Nelly celebrates Tiger’s clutch U.S. Open win. The legend of Tiger’s limp to greatness is an awe-worthy tale, inspiring enough to throw in the mix of gold medal triumphs.

Need a quick refresher? Tiger’s health hurdles started in 2007 but escalated in 2008. Two months shy of the U.S. Open, Tiger received surgery on his left knee but stressed a double fracture on his left tibia. Tiger spent the U.S. Open simultaneously battling Rocco Mediate and the injury, but was unaware of its extent until days after he was crowned champion.  2008 would be the last the world saw of major dominance until the warrior returned at the 2019 Masters.

3: Gifted — French Montana (2013)

"“This that Tiger Woods on his last swing,This that Jimi Hendrix on his last string”"

French Montana dedicates an entire verse to some of the greatest in their own craft, and didn’t exclude Tiger Woods from the shortlist. He throws in a few other sports legends including Derek Jeter and Wayne Gretzky, comparing himself to established legends in their final moments.

With the Presidential Medal of Freedom the latest accolade on Tiger’s resume, it’s safe to say the term “gifted” underestimates his capabilities. And based on the way he’s played much of this season, we’re probably far from his last swing, too.

4: Medicine Man — Eminem (2015)

"“In the beginning a few of the people who had a problem I was this good scoffed, I just shook offProb’ly reminded you of the first time you saw Tiger Woods golf”"

Eminem uses the parallel of race as a basis of comparison. When he and Tiger both entered their respective scenes near the turn of the century, heads turned, but each was quickly welcomed by audiences worldwide. For Tiger, he solidified the world’s admiration after claiming the 1997 Masters at 21 years old. For Eminem, The Slim Shady LP stole the hearts of music fans and became one of 1999’s biggest albums.

Tiger, fond of jamming out during a practice around, gave a nod to Slim Shady late last year for some warm-up music at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Will the real Tiger Woods please stand up?

5: Hood Mentality — Ice Cube (2008)

"“I wanna be like Tiger Woods, swing that club, make you sick”(I wanna be like Pacman Jones), (I wanna be like Michael Vick)”"

Another 2008 banger, Ice Cube likens his ambitions to sports figures, naming Tiger Woods first. At the time, Tiger Woods was the only one listed who hadn’t been caught in the public eye of scandal. Whether the lyrics were foretelling or not, nobody will ever know, but it’s nice to see Tiger getting a full line compared to other athletes who received one-off shoutouts.

Next. How does Koepka stack up against the greats?. dark

Who would have thought a golfer could inspire bars from some of the biggest names in rap? Pre-Tiger, most would have doubted an intersection between the two. That list was only some of the countless mentions Tiger has received throughout his storied career. With plenty of gas left in the tank, more history surely means more rhymes.