The year is beginning with what’s becoming a loose tradition: a documentary about a renowned ’90 s professional athlete that intends to shade in a more total picture. This time around, it’s Tiger, a two-part HBO Sports documentary about golf super star Tiger Woods. Like The Last Dance, which narrated Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls while reviewing his entire career, Tiger tries to complicate the dominating story of a legend specified by his meteoric rise and similarly high fall.
Even if you didn’t know golf, you probably knew about Tiger Woods. If you came of age in the ’90 s or early aughts, it was difficult to not understand about the guy who brought raucous, Michael Jordan-levels of celebrity to golf– a sport so typically restrained that Adam Sandler had the ability to make a hit funny where the only real joke was “what if a golfer got real pissed off all the time?”
Tiger Woods was a phenomenon. It likewise might be why Tiger Woods’ fame as a golf player was equally matched by his prestige as gossip fodder, as his dependencies and indiscretions piled up for a fall as ravenously narrated as his rise.
Throughout the majority of its roughly three-hour runtime, Tiger feels like a Behind the Music special narrowly focused on Tiger’s life: directors Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek are very interested in Woods’ early years as a child prodigy and the complicated relationship the golfer had with his managing daddy. It protests this background that Tiger holds the golf player’s entire profession and public life up for scrutiny: it represents his unmatched successes as owed in part to the probably violent upbringing his daddy provided him and his descent into pain reliever dependency and adultery as the action of a man who was lost after his father died.
For the a lot of part, Tiger is successful at humanizing the individual behind the headings, even if it works at a get rid of. Woods himself primarily appears in archival footage, with the exception of a short surprise look at the end of the movie. This is especially real in its second part, which drifts into sensationalism by treating Woods’ sex scandal– the 2nd widest-known thing about him– as a suspense story.
Similar To The Last Dance, Tiger almost hits the mark. But the production is prevented by its subject’s involvement. Woods didn’t let anybody get too near home, which means Tiger is missing the insight you can get with a strong important lens. Both make up for this by concentrating on the phenomenon of fame over the guys themselves. These are stories less about people and more about culture in such a way that’s entirely unique to expert sports.
Athletes make for a good measuring stick of our cultural biases since their existence tends to raise certain potentially uneasy questions: how much agency do we afford them? Race is an inextricable part of these stories, too.
For Woods, that sense of public ownership manifested itself in the continuous headlines in the early 2000 s about his bad behavior. They’re a part of how we tell our pop culture stories, bad-faith arguments that typically determine how these stories are framed in our memory.
It’s a handled story, carefully orchestrated by press agents and business interests. If you’re Tiger Woods, the headlines can be difficult to shake.
It’s likewise uncommon that pop culture affords the well-known a careful reappraisal. Lately, the stars of ’90 s chatter headings are getting a better rap than the majority of, sitting at the confluence of a market in dire need of content and an audience ravenous for new stories about the heroes they grew up with. Though it’s imperfect, Tiger can work as a tip that the simple stories aren’t necessarily the ones we need to be informing. In fact, we ought to fulfill our heroes– and consider who the bad guys actually are, too.