Cheyenne Woods: "When you find something you can relate to, that's a step forward"

Updated 5:31 AM ET, Tue September 11, 2018

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Story highlights

  • Woods in her third year on the LPGA Tour
  • She is niece of Tiger Woods
  • Aiming to become the first African American winner on Tour

Cheyenne Woods was playing in an event at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles earlier this year when she was introduced to a family who had come to watch her. They had never played golf, or even seen the sport live, but Woods had captured their imaginations. "It was a black family who'd come out; a dad, his two daughters and his son," Woods tells CNN Sport. "They'd never played golf, but they'd heard about me and came out and followed my entire round. That kind of stuff gives me goosebumps."

Though the American has yet to win a major tournament and is ranked No.245 in the world, Woods has always attracted attention. It comes with the territory of being the niece of Tiger Woods, the world's most famous golfer. Ever since she started playing junior tournaments, cameras have followed her. She is untroubled by it. She knows of no other world. There are positives to the interest, she says, as well negatives.
"With Tiger's career, with him taking a break, being injured and now being back, there's always something to talk about with him so people are a bit curious, which is understandable," says Woods, whose late grandfather, Earl Woods -- Tiger's father -- first put a club in her hand, aged three. "Some of the biggest frustrations I've had in my career is always being known as someone's relative versus myself. Now I do feel I have my own identity, whether it's the headline or not."

As a young child looking to someone I could really relate to and have some kind of connection with, I felt that was lacking.

Now in her third year on the LPGA Tour, Woods is not just a golfer with a big name. Much like her 14-time major-winning uncle is to millions around the world, the 28-year-old wants to be an inspiration, to make it easier for black women to follow her path to the tee. "When I was growing up, there wasn't anybody on the LPGA Tour," Woods, the sixth African-American woman to earn a LPGA Tour card, tells CNN Sport. "Obviously, I loved watching Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, but as a young child looking to someone I could really relate to and have some kind of connection with, I felt that was lacking."

Showing that it is possible

Four African-Americans compete on the LPGA Tour with Mariah Stackhouse, ranked 121 in th