“A confident and substantial book...It has torque and velocity...It makes a sweet sound, like a well-struck golf ball. I found it exhilarating, depressing, tawdry, and moving in almost equal measure. It’s a big American story.” —The New York Times
Based on years of reporting and interviews with more than 250 people from every corner of Tiger Woods’s life—many of whom have never spoken about him on the record before—a sweeping, revelatory, and defining biography of an American icon.
In 2009, Tiger Woods was the most famous athlete on the planet, a transcendent star of almost unfathomable fame and fortune living what appeared to be the perfect life. Married to a Swedish beauty and the father of two young children, he was the winner of fourteen major golf championships and earning more than $100 million annually. But it was all a carefully crafted illusion. As it turned out, Woods had been living a double life for years—one that unraveled in the aftermath of a Thanksgiving-night car crash that exposed his serial infidelity and sent his personal and professional lives over a cliff. Still, the world has always wondered: Who is Tiger Woods, really?
In Tiger Woods, Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, the team behind the New York Times bestseller The System, look deep behind the headlines to produce a richly reported answer to that question. To find out, they conducted hundreds of interviews with people from every facet of Woods’s life—friends, family members, teachers, romantic partners, coaches, business associates, physicians, Tour pros, and members of Woods’s inner circle.
From those interviews, and extensive, carefully sourced research, they have uncovered new, intimate, and surprising details about the man behind the myth. We read an inside account of Tiger’s relationship with his first love, Dina Gravell, and their excruciating breakup at the hands of his parents. We learn that Tiger’s longtime sports agency, International Management Group (IMG), made $50,000 annual payments to Tiger’s father, Earl Woods, as a “talent scout”—years before Tiger was their client. We discover startling new details about Earl, who died in 2006 and to this day lies in an unmarked grave. We come along as Tiger plunges into the Las Vegas and New York nightclub worlds alongside fellow superstars Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. We are whisked behind the scenes during the National Enquirer’s globetrotting hunt to expose Tiger’s infidelity, and we get a rare look inside his subsequent sex-addiction treatment at the Pine Grove facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
But the portrait of Woods that emerges in Tiger Woods is far more rewarding than revelations alone. By tracing his life from its origins as the mixed-race son of an attention-seeking father and the original Tiger Mom—who programmed him to be “the chosen one,” tasked with changing not just the game of golf but the world as well—the authors provide a wealth of new insight into the human being trapped inside his parents’ creation. Most of all, we are reminded, time and time again, of Woods’s singular greatness and the exhilaration we felt watching an athletic genius dominate his sport for nearly twenty years.
But at what cost? Benedict and Keteyian provide the answers in an extraordinary biography that is destined to become the defining book about an authentic American legend—and to linger in the minds of readers for years to come.
Jeff Benedict is a New York Times bestselling author, a special features writer for Sports Illustrated, and a television and film producer. He has also written for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and his stories have been the basis for segments on 60 Minutes, 20/20, 48 Hours, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, the NFL Network, HBO Real Sports, CNN, and the Discovery Channel. He has written fifteen books, including the New York Times bestselling autobiography of Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. He lives with his wife and four children in Connecticut.
Armen Keteyianis a CBS News correspondent based in New York and an eleven-time Emmy Award winner, he is widely regarded as one of the finest investigative journalists in the country. A former writer-reporter at Sports Illustrated, he is also the author or coauthor of ten previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Raw Recruits and The System. Born and raised in Michigan, he now lives with his wife, Dede, in Fairfield, Connecticut, and San Clemente, California.
“Irresistible . . . Immensely readable . . . The authors have laid out a saga that is part myth, part Shakespeare, part Jackie Collins. . . . Benedict and Keteyian bring us along for the ride in a whirlwind of a biography that reads honest and true.” —Leigh Montville, The Wall Street Journal
“There is beauty and awe in this perfectly pitched biography . . . It has torque and velocity . . . It’s a confident and substantial book that’s nearly as sleek as a Christopher Nolan movie. It makes a sweet sound, like a well-struck golf ball. I found it exhilarating, depressing, tawdry and moving in almost equal measure. It’s a big American story. . . . The authors bring grainy new detail to almost every aspect of Woods’s life.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Comprehensive, propulsive, packed with incident . . . and unsparing.” —Ian Crouch, The New Yorker
“An ambitious 360-degree portrait of golf’s most scrutinized figure . . . The book features fresh reporting on almost every significant element of Woods’ story. . . . It is a book brimming with revealing details.” —Sam Weinman, Golf Digest
“I have been trying to write about Tiger since he was a teenager. I thought he was unknowable. This book proves me wrong. Here, finally, is Tiger Woods.” —Michael Bamberger, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and author of Men in Green
“Chilling . . . Exhaustively researched . . . The authors present Woods as a man ‘both blessed and cursed’ by his otherworldly ability to separate his off-the-course problems from his performance on it. Tiger Woods is a fascinating analysis of the former, but for golf fans—and probably for Woods himself—his worth will still be judged by the latter. . . . What Benedict and Keteyian do better than in any biography I’ve read about Woods is detail the human costs of this machine-like focus.” —John Paul Newport, Bloomberg Businessweek
“When you read Tiger Woods, you realize these are not just high-level reporting gotchas. This is Tiger’s life laid bare.” —Bryan Curtis, The Ringer
“Painstaking . . . An exhaustive dive into understanding who Tiger really is . . . Benedict and Keteyian provide extensive details.” —Financial Times
“A searing biography of golf’s most blazing talent.” —GOLF magazine
“Juicy . . . A far-reaching portrait of Tiger on and off the golf course . . . Plenty of new revelations, and incredible additional detail and insight into Tiger’s professional and personal life.” —Golf Digest
“Meticulously reported, scrupulously fair, endlessly interesting, Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s Tiger Woods reveals the human being long-hidden behind the golf genius. The story of Tiger’s passage from driven prodigy, to lonely hero, to disgraced celebrity is compelling, and often poignant, from first page to last.” —Jeffrey Toobin, author of American Heiress and The Nine
“If King Lear had been about golf, or if the great Russian novelists had turned their lens toward modern expectations and fame, toward the most American of fathers and sons, the result would be this book. The rise and fall and return of Tiger Woods in these pages is both mythic and poignantly small and human.” —Wright Thompson, senior writer, ESPN The Magazine