‘Tiger‘ is an HBO sports documentary that follows the career of championship golfer Tiger Woods. It is co-directed by Matthew Hamachek and Matthew Heineman and streams on HBO Max.
The documentary examines the career of Tiger Woods, who seemed to be appointed from the very beginning by his parents Earl and Kultida Woods. His father trained him to the point that he was a golfing machine, winning tournaments at a young age and entering golf clubs that were only held for the elite. He becomes a champion propped up the media, but bad decisions led to his downfall. From the high life to the lowest of the low, Tiger went from winning trophies to spiraling out of control. However, after a wake-up call, Tiger climbs back up from the depths to make one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
Through archival footage and interviews with his closest friends, we get to see not just the champ, but who Tiger Woods is on the inside. We hear from his college girlfriend, neighbors, rivals, and his former caddy who all describe how he was pushed by his father to become a Gandhi-like figure to unite the world through golf. This clearly put impossible pressure on the young man who just wanted to become the “Michael Jordan of Golf.” You see through the camera how this affected Tiger and the choices that he made in life.
The documentary does a good job of presenting the story of Tiger Woods to you and has a high quality of storytelling that helps you understand the man behind the golf clubs. You definitely feel like you get a sense of who he is and was during the peaks and the downturns. It does have some foul language and the talk of the sex scandals got a little explicit, so be wary with kids watching.
One thing that bothered me was they trotted out Tiger’s mistress Rachel Uchitel in the second part of the film. They gave her space, with no pushback, to whine about how the exposure of their affair brought her unfavorable coverage. All I could say was, “boo FREAKING hoo.” She is a homewrecker right along with Tiger. It takes two people to have an affair and she was ready to push all the blame on Tiger, but the fact is, they both deserved every bit of sneers they received for ruining the one good support system Tiger had in the form of his family.
They also brought in reporter Bryant Gumbel to whine about the race issue surrounding Tiger. In part one, he whined about Tiger not choosing to exclusively identify as Black, but then turned every criticism aimed at Tiger as some sort of racial circumstance. Yes, Tiger faced undeniable discrimination in his career, but not every single negative event he found himself involved race. Gumbel using Tiger’s story to stand on a soapbox was incredibly problematic. I doubt he was authorized by Tiger Woods to make any of the statements he made.
And that is the point. Aside from Gumbel, we get another glimpse into just how terrible the media is, even with sports. The media had fun building Tiger Woods up, then almost immediately started fishing for a fall. “Getting married, Tiger? How will that affect your swing?” “Having a child, Tiger? How will that affect your putt.” It was blatant and then all about jumped for joy when his affairs came out.
This is not a defense of Tiger Woods. He was a total scumbag to his family and his ex-wife Elin Nordegren deserved every bit of restitution she received after he broke her heart. However, the media tried to play both sides. While acting aghast at Woods, whom they built up, they were simultaneously attacking Nordegren as some sort of golddigger. It was gross and embarrassing, especially when they acted like Woods’ biggest fans when he made his big comeback. The media always presents some bizarre air of superiority, but the truth is, they are all the National Enquirer. Some just pour glitter on their veneer.
As for Tiger Woods himself, he only appears in archival footage and in interviews, never making an appearance. Not that I blame him. It opens up old wounds, but the overall feel of Tiger is to tell his story.
Check out the trailer below:
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