The two-part Tiger Woods documentary premieres this weekend in the United States.
In 2018, a book many consider to be the definitive account of Tiger Woods was released.
Simply entitled Tiger Woods, the biography, which meticulously covered the golfer’s rise, fall and comeback, was co-authored by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, and was the product of three years of reporting, which included 400 interviews with more than 250 people.
Packed with fascinating insight into one of the greatest sportsmen of all time, the book received largely positive reviews, although it was denounced by the golfer’s camp, who said it was riddled with “egregious errors.”
Following its success, news broke that accomplished filmmaker Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief) was developing a documentary series based on the book.
Now, the finished product, directed by Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek, has arrived.
The two-part look at the 15-time major champion’s professional and personal life premiered in the United States on HBO on Sunday (January 10), with the second instalment set for January 17.
The documentary has attracted a strong response, particularly from Woods’ agent, who slammed the film as “unauthorised” and “salacious”.
“Just like the book it is based off of, the upcoming HBO documentary is just another unauthorised and salacious outsider attempt to paint an incomplete portrait of one of the greatest athletes of all-time,” said Mark Steinberg, who has represented Woods since 1998.
Elsewhere, Joel Beall, a writer at Golf Digest, described the film as a “mess”, adding that it “errs too often on the salacious.”
Unfortunately the new Tiger doc is a mess. Not sure what it wants to be and errs too often on the salacious. If the knock on the Last Dance was that it occasionally came off as hagiography, this is a letter written by spurned lovers and grudge holders
— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) January 4, 2021
ESPN presenter Ashley Brewer called the documentary a “vicious attack” on Woods’ character.
Just finished the Tiger Woods documentary, which will air on HBO Sunday. It left me sad for Tiger. The vicious attack on him, his character & his father was unfair. It failed to highlight his work as a humanitarian. And it failed to extend grace to an imperect person, like us all
— Ashley Brewer (@ESPNAshley) January 9, 2021
“It was undoubtedbly interesting,” Brewer added in a later tweet. “But felt like a bunch of old friends and neighbors from childhood, who he grew away from, wanted to get together to trash him, expose him and share their memories from decades ago.”
Opinions divided after premiere
There were plenty of negative responses, and some positives assessments too, which can be seen below.
One word for the HBO documentary on Tiger Woods – DISGRACEFUL.
(w/the f-word as an adjective)
He’s a private citizen who was forced to face his demons publicly, which he did & became a better man.
All of those “sellouts” should be ashamed. No amount of 💵 is worth that label.
— Lisa Cornwell (@LisaCornwellGC) January 11, 2021
Definitely got mixed feelings with this Tiger Woods documentary. Some very good, astute commentary from Bryant Gumble and Faldo. Great highlights footage of his major tournament victories. But, other aspects make it seem better suited for the tabloid trash on the Reelz channel.
— B Zollicoffer (@zolly_b) January 11, 2021
Episode 1 of the HBO Tiger Woods Documentary “Tiger” was Last Dance level stuff. Earl Woods made Jerry Krause’s worst night look good.. wow
— Jeremy Jorgenson (@jerjorgenson) January 11, 2021
Difficult to acknowledge ‘Tiger’ as a documentary. It’s a very surface-level education that is seemingly only used to set up the salacious details of his life. Have to wonder about the motivations of the characters no longer in @TigerWoods‘ inner circle.
— Mike Wolfe (@brerwolfe) January 13, 2021
Tiger is currently available on HBO Max in the United States. It does not have a release date in Ireland.