‘Tiger’ Documentary Review


Gigi Hanner

The life and career of professional golfer Tiger Woods is unearthed in HBO Max’s 2-part documentary series: ‘Tiger’. The series depicts Woods’ rise to 15 major championships, his fall from grace, and his comeback into the golf world. We are introduced to Tiger as a child, when he was still learning how to play golf with his father, Earl. We get to see some of the hardships Tiger faced in the public eye, including addiction, relationship struggles, and loss.

The namesake for this documentary is barely directly involved in it. That’s right, besides footage from childhood and other public appearances, Tiger Woods is barely in the documentary. He makes a brief appearance at the very end, but his involvement doesn’t last longer than 5 minutes. But, several of his ex-girlfriends make appearances in an interview-style format. It is in these interviews that new insight is given into his life and struggles. These hard times and successes are each owed to the tumultuous relationship between father (Earl), and son (Tiger).

Tiger’s father is portrayed as someone who knew his son could be the best but also wasn’t the best role model. In the second part of the documentary, the scandal that defined Woods’ downfall is introduced. This is the part where we really get to see the human behind the celebrity, by including very personal interviews with old friends, girlfriends, and journalists who knew him best during this time of his life. This humanization provides a new perspective on the golf legend so many of us have heard of. 

Directors Matthew Heineman and Matthew Hamachek do an excellent job of bringing new emotion and insight into a widely talked about man and the golf prodigy he was before superstardom. But, the documentary doesn’t dive into the deeper details as it should. To some extent, most of the information presented in the film is common knowledge, particularly the sex scandal detailed in the second part. Although the interviews we see are emotional and hard-hitting, they do not show any criticism of Tiger beyond what has already been known. 

Although this documentary is well done and well presented, it is important to remember when watching that we can only know so much about the life of a celebrity, especially one who is still alive and who doesn’t actually appear in the documentary. You can watch ‘Tiger’ now on HBO Max.