Tiger Woods

Jeff Benedict

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I took a class in college with Jeff Benedict, and he was one of the coolest people I’d ever met. He was full of knowledge and insight in the creative writing and storytelling world, and I learned a lot from him. Tiger Woods was one of the first memoir’s I’ve probably ever read, and I’m so glad I did. It was the coolest collection of life I’d gotten into.

Jeff Benedict’s seminars were a really great way to dig into the world of research, journalism, and creative writing. We thoroughly discussed the process of writing and the different techniques and strategies one uses to create a great piece; or great pieces. We were also able to dig into building stories with tips on how to ask questions and impress people involved in your projects. We even got around to talking about the submission process and the worry of writers who wait for feedback after submitting projects to editors and agents. Getting to hear about the detailed and riveting inside process and job of putting Tiger Woods together itself, was really cool.

Reading Tiger Woods never felt like reading a purely factual biography. Benedict and his partners made this book read like a story or novel. His excerpts are super intriguing in a way that makes you want to continue reading . Benedict’s point of view in this book is focused on inside Tiger’s head. The book gives great detail on his family life, his elementary, middle school, high school and college career, his relationships with his friends, coaches, agents, fans, and especially his relationship with his parents. I believe that all of the books written on Woods have covered those aspects, but Benedict and his team got inside the heads of every single individual they met and interviewed. I’ve never read quite anything like Tiger Woods; it’s authentic, specific, personal, raw.

There’s method to Benedict’s story writing, and there’s reason behind why people are enjoying his work. His efforts began by reading every book written of Woods — more than twenty in all. He read books authored by him, by his dad, former coaches, a former caddie, his dad’s first wife, and several others. He and his team also read efforts of journalists such as Tom Callahan, John Feinstein, Steve Helling, Robert Lusetich, Tim Rosaforte, Howard Sounes, John Striege, etc. He said “he would be remiss if they failed to single out two invaluable sources of information relating to Woods — those being The 1997 Masters: My Story by Woods and Lorne Rubinstein”, and a book by Hank Haney. In addition to reading excerpts from others, Jeff and his team read and studied books on “Buddhism, Navy SEALs, gifted children, success, the business of golf, sex-addiction, compulsive behavior, infidelity, and performance-enhancing drugs.” The team reviewed “transcripts of more than 320 official press conferences, and dozens of transcripts of interviews with news organizations and television programs.” They read thousands of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles about Woods, and they managed to watch over a hundred hours of footage from Tiger on the course. They spent time compiling, reading, and studying Tiger Woods for a three year period. They conducted “over four hundred interviews with over 250 individuals.” They asked questions for people from every part of Tiger’s walk of life.

They spent months putting a specific and particular timeline of Tiger Woods’ life — which resulted in 120 pages. They came up with a 360-degree look at Tiger’s life, start to finish — before he even existed and the book focused on his parents for a while— its Tiger’s entire life to date. It’s purpose is to examine his roots and the crucial aspects to his rise, fall, and return. Their purpose was to deliver something “fresh, revealing”, and to recreate the human portrait of Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods was such a profound book and never felt like I was reading a 400 page biography. It rarely felt like I was reading a biography at all. The times I was reminded that I was reading such a book is when I came across sentences like, “this is why we chose to add this detail”, and “this is how my partner and I felt about this situation and story.”

I learned a lot about golf, and the sacrifices that athletes make when they are passionate about whatever sport it is that they are apart of. I learned a lot about the impacts of family and friend influence, how it affects an offspring and the way they grow up to live their life. I discovered the impact of temptation and addiction, and the different kind of addictions that lead to all sorts of different behaviors. I learned about pitfalls of money and fame, and what it takes to keep your feet steady and sturdy on the ground. I discovered what a world of hurt it can do to those around you who love and support you when you’re not living up to the person you should be.

There were a lot of lessons in the text, and it was crazy to read such a successful, factual, 360 degree, intricate and precise in and out look of someone’s life.

Tiger Woods is such a fantastic read. One I’d definitely recommend.

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