Following the success of the Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance earlier this year, ESPN fast-tracked several more sports documentaries to help fill the void left by the absence of the regularly scheduled sports seasons this summer. Now HBO Sports is jumping on the bandwagon later this year with the two-part documentary series Tiger, a look at the rise, fall and surprising triumphant return of one of the greatest golfers of our time, Tiger Woods.
HBO Sports is teaming up with Jigsaw Productions in association with Our Time Projects for Tiger, which will use Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s book Tiger Woods as a resource to drive the film. But there’s also a lot of never-before-seen footage and interviews with people who know the golfer best. Some of the talking heads include his former caddy and close friend Steve Williams, six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo, Tiger’s first love Dina Parr, his mistress Rachel Uchitel, and Pete McDaniel, a friend and biographer of Tiger’s father Earl Woods.
Directors Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, A Private War) and Matthew Hamacheck (Amanda Knox) are taking the helm of Tiger, and this isn’t their first time dabbling in sports documentaries. Heineman’s documentary short The Third Man looked back at the famous story of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power Salute on the podium at the 1968 Olympics. Hamacheck previously worked as an editor on Racing Dreams, a documentary about world champion go-kart racing kids. In a statement, the duo said:
“Since his introduction to the world at the age of two, Tiger Woods has inhabited our collective consciousness as a prodigy, a pioneer, a champion, a global icon, and then a tabloid headline. After months of research and countless hours of revelatory conversations, we discovered that he has always been a projection of outsized expectations. His father, his sponsors, and his fans all made Tiger Woods into whom they wanted him to be. Our goal was to dive deeper and create an unflinching and intimate portrait of a man, who like all of us, is imperfect and inherently human.”
Executive producing Tiger will be Alex Gibney, the Oscar-winning director of Taxi to the Dark Side. Gibney was also nominated for an Oscar for his documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and won an Emmy for the HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. This won’t be the first foray into controversial sports figures for Gibney either. Back in 2013, he directed and produced The Armstrong Lie, which focused on cyclist Lance Armstrong. In a statement, Gibney said:
“For sports fans and for anyone interested in the pursuit of greatness and the price of ambition paid by athletes, particularly when parents and the society-at-large push them to win at any cost. The directing team of Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek have used their extraordinary cinematic talents to tell a riveting story.”
Tiger Woods was a hero to many for a long time, but his infidelity in his personal life really brought down his integrity and status as a role model. Many seemed to forgive him when he became a champion again. But others didn’t let him get off quite so easily, especially when a Nike advertisement featuring the golfer (seen above) made it seem like his return to champion status absolved him of his past transgressions.
Tiger is also executive produced by Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Sam Pollard, Armen Keteyian, and Jeff Benedict, with Peter Nelson and Bentley Weiner also executive producing for HBO. Trevor Davidoski and Jenna Millman are also producing.
The first part of Tiger will debut exclusively on HBO on December 13 and the second part will follow on December 20. It will also be made available to stream on HBO Max.
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