CALIFORNIA (AP) — A new documentary on the rise and fall of Tiger Woods reveals details about the pro-golfer from people who knew him intimately.
“Tiger” is a two-part series on HBO that looks at Woods’ love and talent for golf from the age of two, his intense relationship with his father, Earl Woods, and the many championships he won after working relentlessly on his game. But the series also examines who he was when out of the spotlight: a playful teenager who yearned for a life beyond golf, a fierce competitor who revered his father but also shut him out in later years, and a vulnerable man who needed an escape from the media and the pressure to win.
Directors Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek used Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s best-selling book “Tiger Woods” as a base for their story, but worked hard to get many who knew Tiger well to speak on camera.
“A lot of the people we talked to are people who at one point in time sort of had an acrimonious split from from Tiger, whether it was his first girlfriend or his long time caddy, Steve Williams. But what was so fascinating to both of us was that after all of these years, they were still fiercely protective of Tiger. And they’ve seen, I think, a lot of people in the media, you know, sort of tear him down,” Hamachek told the Associated Press in a recent interview.
“When you have a front row seat to Tiger’s life, like a lot of these people did, you see that from the age of two onward– whether it was Earl, his father, or Nike in their advertisements, or the sort of public at large– people were constantly projecting things onto him.”
The series includes never-before-seen footage and interviews with those who know Tiger best, including his former caddy and close friend, Steve Williams, Tiger’s first true love, Dina Parr; as well as Rachel Uchitel, the woman at the center of the sex scandal that eventually brought Tiger down and led to the end of his marriage. Uchitel speaks on camera for the first time in years and describes the time she spent with Tiger, often in hotel rooms where he could escape his life for a while.
“What’s sort of fascinating about Tiger is that he is probably one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, but I don’t think the public really knew much about him at all beyond what what was presented to us by Nike. And so, you know, the process of making a documentary is really listening to the people that were, that were there in person and really knew him well,” Hamachek said.
“The thing that fascinated me the most about being able to talk to Rachel was the details of her talking about when they would they would be in a hotel room together, Tiger Woods, Tiger would sort of refer to them almost snuggling, as he would call it, ‘plugging in.’ And what he would really want to do is just sort of sleep in the bed next to her and be calm and away from the pressures of the outside world and fame and things like that. And then when he would wake up, it would be eating cereal and watching cartoons and things like that.”
The series also reveals the complicated relationship between Tiger and Earl, and how some of the behaviors that troubled him about his father Tiger himself began to repeat as an adult.
“He was a product of both of his parents and his upbringing and the profound, profound, profound impact that they had on him as a kid, as a teenager, as an adult. In Earl’s case, after he died and the legacy that he left in the hole that he created in his son, the patterns that obviously Tiger created repeated excuse me, in his own life, it’s almost Shakespearean, the the sort of way in which history repeated itself within his own life,” Heineman said. “And, you know, I don’t think that’s an accident.”
Tiger will premiere on HBO January 10th.