Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest athlete of the past 50 years. Since famously hitting balls on The Mike Douglas Show at age two, and then winning all 33 junior golf tournaments he entered as a six-year-old, Woods has won 79 PGA Tour titles and more than 100 events worldwide, including 14 majors.
His impact stretches far beyond the golf course. Since Woods turned pro in 1995, TV ratings, fan bases, and corporate interest have skyrocketed. PGA Tour annual purses have risen from $67 million to $363 million, with the average event purse jumping from $1.5 million to $7.4 million. Likewise, corporate investment in the sport has quintupled, and the once lily-white PGA Tour now features dozens of golfers of color and a program celebrating cultural diversity.
Woods also experienced arguably the greatest fall in recent sports history. His problems with womanizing, prescription drugs, and serious injuries led to a “tragedy befitting a Shakespearean character,” noted Armen Keteyian. “He was falling into the same rabbit hole as other child prodigies who didn’t make it out — Prince, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley. But he’s pulled out of it.”
Such is the basis for Tiger Woods, the blockbuster biography of the world’s most famous and enigmatic athlete. Longtime 60 Minutes contributing correspondent Keteyian joined Jeff Benedict, author of the bestselling college football expose The System, to write a definitive, meticulously crafted 360-degree profile of a man who has taken great measures to zealously guard his image and private life.
The Complex Inner and Outer World of Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is top-of-the-line reading that stretches well beyond sports. Keteyian and Benedict took three years to research, construct, and write the story of a boy groomed from birth to be a golf champion. Through more than 400 interviews and after reviewing 320 press conferences and hundreds of hours of footage, the authors show how Tiger’s intense shyness, social isolation, and singular focus on golf resulted in his later challenges. In this book, we see what drove, motivated, and troubled the most laser-focused, competitive shotmaker on the planet.
Tiger Woods is more than the story of a champion golfer. It is a necessary look into the challenges of gifted children, the impact of overbearing parents, societal expectations of our sports champions, and the devastating impact of sex addiction and prescription painkillers.
“We constructed a 70,000-word timeline going back to the birth of Tiger’s parents,” Keteyian said. “When we matched his achievements with events from his personal life, we found some compelling patterns.” One was his ability to play at his best while escalating in his personal issues. “You see that sometimes with creative geniuses,” Keteyian explained.
That’s the beauty of this 500-page masterpiece. You will find many Tiger Woods stories you’ve never heard before. You’ll find out the biggest rabbit he’s chasing on Tour (surprise: it’s not breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins). You’ll see facets to his character you never knew about. More importantly, you will step inside the complex inner and outer world “of a true, albeit reluctant, American idol,” Benedict and Keteyian write.
Few would take on the challenge of writing such a comprehensive Tiger Woods biography. Yet, Benedict and Keteyian come through. It will thrill you, sadden you, and ultimately leave you feeling hopeful and appreciative for this man’s presence on our TV screens for Sundays throughout the past 20 years.