If there’s one thing the public loves, it’s a redemption story. While the guilty pleasure of schadenfreude is as old as time itself, people typically enjoy tales of triumph over adversity more.
In a new documentary for HBO, the creators of Tiger, seek to explore the life and career of Tiger Woods who became just as famous for his prowess in the bedroom, as on the green. The project is a two-parter, with the first part to air on Foxtel today (January 11) on Fox Showcase.
Co-directors Matthew Hamachek and Matthew Heineman examine Woods’ personal and professional relationships and how they shaped him as an athlete and person. One such relationship is the one the golfer had with Rachel Uchitel, with whom he had an affair while still married to Elin Nordegren in 2009.
Uchitel appears in the documentary to share her side of the story and how the notoriety foisted upon her affected her life.
Speaking to Extra’s Billy Bush during a promotional appearance for the doc, Uchitel said, ‘The whole thing has made my life a living hell for the last 10 years, and I wanted to tell my story on HBO because I wanted people to see what really happened. I was not a mistress, and I was in a real relationship and I want people to leave me alone about it.”
Woods and Nordegren’s marriage ended in 2009 thanks, in part, to the athlete’s relationship with Uchitel, who is a 9/11 widow.
“’I made a bad decision,” she said to Bush. “And I regret it, and I’m embarrassed about it, and…my apology is to two people, not the world, two people.”
Woods confessed to cheating on his wife with around 120 women over the course of his five year marriage, although there is much speculation that it was way more than that, and experienced a spectacular fall from grace. Seemingly overnight, Woods went from respected and envied athlete with the perfect life to fallen hero who lost lucrative sponsorships with AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors along with his marriage.
Nordegren and Woods have been able to co-parent their children Sam, 13, and Charlie, 11, and the former model now has a young son with Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron. She reportedly recieved US $100 million in the divorce settlement. Woods, meanwhile, is in a steady relationship with Erica Herman.
Woods returned to his beloved game in 2010 after a sabbatical, winning the 2019 Masters, although his game is largely considered to not be as mighty as it once was.
His professional comeback may not have been as impressive as anticipated, but his personal one has been one that has captured our attention with Woods slowly coming back into public favour.
Says Hamachek, “Everyone pretty much knows about all of Tiger’s accomplishments in the game of golf. What we’re showing here is a comeback, not in terms of sports, but of a guy who has had some pretty serious personal issues that have led him to some dark places and how he’s coped with that.”
According to Hamachek, one of the objectives in making the two-part series was to give each viewer a personal takeaway. “One of the many goals in making a documentary is to place you in the shoes of our subjects and make you think what would you do if you had the same opportunities,” the filmmaker says.
And it is this that could well be the key not only to the success of the documentary, but Tiger himself. While we love to occasionally watch people fall, we love a good redemption story even more because we need to believe that people are inherently good and that our own mistakes will one day be forgiven.
Part One of Tiger will air on Foxtel’s Fox Showcase channel (112) on January 11 at 1pm. Part two of Tiger is expected to be released during the month of January, however no specific date has been announced.