FLEMINGTON, NJ - “I’ve cried in pretty much every Cup we’ve won,” Tiger Woods told Golfweek on the heels of winning the Presidents Cup in Australia last week, adding,“I’ve been doing this a long time. Any time you have moments where you’re able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual, is so much more meaningful and so much more special.”
Wood's remarks resonated with local artist James Fiorentino all the more after learning that Woods had been overcome with emotion just before the start of the Presidents Cup, when he was presented with Fiorentino’s original watercolor painting of his father, Earl.
The black and white watercolor depicts the senior Woods when he played college baseball for Kansas State in the 1950s.
Earl Dennison Woods was the first African-American to play in the Big Eight, and was drafted by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League, but he passed on the opportunity to play professional baseball, choosing to enlist in the US Army, where he served two tours of duty in Vietnam before retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
As is tradition at the Presidents Cup, the caddies presented Woods, their captain, with Fiorentino's original painting, commissioned for the occasion. It was presented to by caddy John Wood.
“Not only did I get to paint Tiger's Dad, but for the Presidents Cup event as well,” Fiorentino said. “Tiger Woods is one of those iconic athletes who has forever changed the sport, a feat accomplished by very few. I've been a fan since Tiger first came on the golf scene, and it was an almost unthinkable honor to have been commissioned to paint his father, Earl.”
“Tiger, the youngest captain ever in the Presidents Cup,” Fiorentino emphasizes, “played incredibly in all his matches — setting an example for his teammates, who bonded to win a come-from-behind victory, proving just how close all the guys were at this event.”
Fiorentino is one of the country's premier watercolor artists, with landscapes, portraits and wildlife paintings gracing the walls of galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad. Dozens of professional athletes own Fiorentino originals. As a 15-year-old, Fiorentino completed an original watercolor of Reggie Jackson, selected by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as its official portrait of the former MLB outfielder.
Fiorentino also chronicled the 2,130-consecutive game streak of Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and has produced several series of commemorative baseball cards for several manufacturers.