Tiger Woods – The Rise & Fall Review: Hole In One

June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

TIGER WOODS – THE RISE AND FALL: Thursday 17th June, Channel 4, 10pm ALERT ME

In the wake of last year’s biggest cause célèbre that saw thousands of column inches dedicated to one story and one story only, you would think there was nothing else to be said regarding the small matter of Tiger Woods. It is to the programme makers’ credit that Tiger Woods: The Rise & Fall manages to both enthral and captivate despite the juiciest details already having been revealed. The documentary seeks to investigate the motivations behind Woods’ actions, how he came to make the mistakes that have tarnished his career and why the sordid details of his private life took so long to emerge.

Jacques Peretti manages to gain access to an impressive roster of interviewees including veteran sports journalist Gary Smith, Tiger’s childhood golf coach and many of the leading protagonists who played a vital role in his downfall.

A somewhat misleading opening gambit (perhaps to ensure viewers don’t switch the channel) that suggests the programme is primarily concerned with gaining access to the seedier aspects of Tiger’s life, is soon offset by a fascinating inspection of his unusual and remarkable childhood. From the moment he was born Tiger was subjected to the immense ambitions of his father, a Vietnam veteran who envisaged great things for his son, basing his methods for success on a bizarre mix of psychological experiments designed for the military and an intensive training regime that saw the young prodigy putting for up to eight hours straight. In later life Woods would speak of experiences not entirely dissimilar to those of characters in The Manchurian Candidate, citing periods where he had “black out moments?, unable to recall taking the shot but fully aware of his having been there. What sounds like tabloid media fantasy is made to sound disconcertingly probable by Peretti who ensures degrees of credibility in securing the anecdotes and reflections of his childhood coach who confirms these assertions.

When Tiger Woods signed a contract with IMG, a behemoth in the world of PR, he found himself the recipient of some $40 million over night. Eventually Woods would go on to make a billion dollars and as his net worth increased so too did the necessity to keep the excesses of his domestic life private: namely a penchant for strippers and a wild Vegas lifestyle. IMG, with its long and illustrious client list, served as the perfect protector, able to bribe journalists with a press blackout should they dare sully the reputation of one of their star clients. Indeed, in the brief period of containment where Woods’ people managed to suppress his infidelities, the golfer earned a further $300 million by trading off his family man status. With the stakes so dependent on Tiger maintaining a clean domestic image in order to secure further lucrative sports endorsements, it hardly comes as a surprise that he was granted a brief reprieve, if only until his less-than-discreet car crash finally set everything loose.

An intriguing documentary that challenges South Park’s recent lampooning of the star (they explain his compulsion for multiple sex partners as the inevitable result of being rich and famous), Tiger Woods: The Rise & Fall will satisfy both fans and critics of a man of undeniable talent which has sadly been eclipsed by minor moral transgressions.