What is the story about?
This two-part documentary offers a comprehensive look at the life of golfer Tiger Woods, showing his early years, his exploits as a professional golfer, his relationships, his marriage and subsequent divorce and much more.
For those of us who follow the world of sports, it is impossible to separate Tiger Woods from golf. Be it his ferocious drives to tee off or his emotionally-charged fist-pumps at putting his way to victory, we have seen him dominate the field. The world has also witnessed his spectacular fall from grace, as he dealt with multiple sexual liaisons, a broken marriage and an addiction to painkillers. Directors Matthew Hamachek and Matthew Heineman show all this, but they make the smartest move of all by focussing on Woods’ upbringing and his insecurities as a person, rather than the “machine” the media and fans made him out to be. The documentary goes into uncomfortable territory very early on, when it becomes painfully clear that Woods might not have focussed so much on golf had it not been for the fanatical, overbearing desire of his father, Earl. It also shows the ugly side of fame, as people who may be enormously gifted in sport may not be mentally equipped to handle the pressures of expectations. This is an incisive documentary, in spite of its one glaring drawback in its depiction of Woods, and should serve as inspiration to all filmmakers in India who love making one-sided hagiographies as “biopics”. And when you see footage of Woods’ extraordinary win at the 2019 Augusta Masters tournament, you can only say “Wow!”
Music & Other Departments
The score is minimal.
Definitely the interviews featuring golfing legend Nick Faldo, Woods’ ex-caddie Steve Williams, his first girlfriend Dina Parr, and his most infamous lover, Rachel Uchitel. All of them are unsparing in their assessment of Woods, and yet there’s an intimate, protective tone about them, almost as if they knew about Woods’ fragility all along.
For someone who belongs to an African-American background, Woods’ identity as a “champion of colour”, as someone puts it, has informed much of the media’s criticism of his golfing prowess and his personal misdemeanours. The directors barely scratch the surface of this racial bullying. The idea that there was a racial edge to sustained criticism of Woods’ personal life by the media is half-explored, and the directors could be accused to trying to bury these angle under the carpet. At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement is still fresh in people’s minds, this is a glaring omission.
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
In spite of its flaws, this is a docuseries that is deeply appreciative and critical of its subject rather than submitting to blind adulation. Please watch it.