Enough About Me Ep. 83 - 'Tiger Woods' co-author Jeff Benedict 5-10-18

WEEI Podcasts
Thursday, May 10th

Kirk chats this week with author Jeff Benedict about the research and writing of 'Tiger Woods', a thorough look at the American golf icon. Minihane calls the new biogrophy among the best he's ever read, and gets behind-the-scenes of this #1 New York Times Bestseller.

00:32:13

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I are know by now enough ball meet these and throw the status sponsored by my great friends of militants the store from and so for positive. At the mall over their torturous little square in Chestnut Hill right field. Owns the store minutes distort the curtain Callahan show to sort to go you one great summer clothes. Took him to go to a wedding took in the dress casual by the way business casual millones oracle you watch him. The take care a 100% you'll look great prices are great the people are great but Hamilton's millones beast or man again throw they sponsor. The you know balmy podcast throw the part of the per gallon shall we love Milton Scott Hamilton's. The store format. I guess we just spent coauthor with. Army detained of this great news sports book. On Tiger Woods biography of Tiger Woods have I think just type what you can find us on number one. York times best seller. As we speak right now what the best sports part of his ever read probably top five I won with no expectations at all it thought she's never forget Tiger Woods' book what's the read this. And start reading you right away it was blown away by it. The stuff you learn in this book is shocking I can't recommend this book. Enough and I'm from the books talk about her latest book is great worth reading long but you'll blow through them telling when the best sports books are bred. Ten years in the co author of that book Jeff and that is nice enough to join us on this episode of enough about. Yes so I read the book who are of a priority on pentagon the day came out in. Tiger Woods is one of those guys when UC's new biography of him you generally arise because he doesn't seem like the sort of subject it's gonna lead itself. There's something you've seen just because. He himself does lecturing them much so I was stunned. Whenever the book and learn as much as I did you guys view and Armitage did a great job when you first thought about tiger which you victims the subject. There must have been some hesitation oh. Hesitation. I I think it was clear from the beginning that this was going to be daunting. I'm. You know it's it's. But I I actually think it. For journalists to the to feel that way is a good thing. It's it's almost like they're. It's quick it's up in the morning every day and energizes you go to work because you realize that your in this something that's gonna. It's gonna test every. Every bit of your your talent your experience and probably require you to. Learn and do things that you never had to do before and that was we hope you know epic. Challenge. In his obsession that long obsession with privacy it was secrecy. And and the wall that has really been around him I think what. And on no question I guess I guess part of this is an yeah baby yeah and obviously the better and I would. My guess is five years ago seven years ago you probably couldn't write. The same book but when the period of time between when this talk to people than they should change whether it's Haney whether it's no mere whether it's somebody who we rented. A place from the gusto. Time I think probably allows you be able to talk these people the public more comfortable and ready to go supposed to say half a decade ago. You're right in their respective there's certainly was some of that element of play grunts. But I happen to hit that there was we've ran into more. Nondisclosure agreements are NBA's those people know the most right then then either of us had ever come across our readers as journalists. Secondly their wrist there's still where alcohol hangover effect meaning. A lot of people even from tiger it then who were still very reluctant in some cases literally scared or afraid to talk. To us about even simple things like for instance people who were tight with him. Were were afraid to talk about things like just described the high school what it is you wanna talk about the school time didn't raise that. The benefit though was that they can probably say things now and open up about things now that they definitely would not have disclosed or talked about. When he was it in his heyday. What surprised you most uneasy you've got a Tug just give you my as a from a reader perspective you know I knew he was a difficult guy. I knew that he wasn't you know the nicest guy for great portions Craig knew he was this thing is tough to deal with what he does come across in the book. Is it just is an ass hole I mean I don't think there's any is any other way around I mean do you think after work and talk to people for years do you think the Tiger Woods is an assault. That this thing I don't. And the way that we I'll tell you how I got where I am where I where I ended. The market in arbiter I don't know certainly see all these things. Completely the same right now we've we have our own perceptions about him but where I've where. My evolution as I started in the beginning of the life and we wrote chronologically so you know the last chapter that we rove was. Chapter that and the earlier this year right and on what I'm saying it. As I as nitrates route different Kurds and the life. I certainly did have feelings that were more in line with what you just described spoke by the time I got news. You know I would say the last seven years of his life. Particularly around the crashes when it started change for me I I took on a much more. Empathetic view of him sympathetic I'm not saying sympathetic and an empathetic. I. I came ultimately do admire him in ways that I I didn't imagine in the beginning of this process are you an example what I mean sure. There's two kinds of admiration wanted the aberration or is genius. As a professional as a copper and and here's an example of that. Here's a guy who at the pinnacle of his career when he is unbeatable. And really can only be himself but nobody can beat him at that same time his personal life is so off the rails. That it's hard for most human being even comprehend or relate. To the degree to which he's gone off the rails personally. In it you'd think about it like from your perspective and in what you do as a professional what I'd do was write it it would be very hard reviewer arrive. To function at the level we do. And to have our personal lives in such ruined. And I I found it frankly stunning that he could perform as well as he did. Under a microscope. A week after week on the war in a sport that requires such specificity concentration. Once he was exposed in it he was really exposed rapidly what you crashed car in November 27 2009 our work. There's an unraveling now I think was unprecedented and Americans. War nobody nobody has ever had their face. In the mud more than Tiger Woods had weathered them obviously some think it's deserved but there's no question that is there's nothing even close. Nothing even close and there aren't thought that the way he handled as it is. I'd what I did was I looked it OK let's look at other people who have men who have been in the limelight. And who were exposed for infidelity scandals. Or or injury that really what a road America got. People like Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer Donn Edwards Kobe Bryant you've got right now Weiner yeah. Trump yet know that none of those men know that there. Ever stood up alone the way tiger did so without his spouse. You stood up and he actually acknowledged. All of these things it is he defected to press conferences that he gave after the scandal broke open. One was wondering didn't take questions basically at the PGA headquarters right and then the second when he gave before he returned at the masters and and that when he it's a question. If you look at those who press conferences and believe me we analyze and act at a ball well. You admissions that he makes in this statement he made about themselves. Are unprecedented. In terms of how much you fall on the sword and when I looked at that I thought you know. You cannot do at some point give this guy credit not for what he did in the past and know what's gonna look at that as well I was a bank. We you have to look at the way he responded to a once he was. Exposed and I think there was actually a cathartic element. Him being exposed and and then there's this sort of death march where he goes to sex addiction treatment and then he comes through the reckoning in the aftermath. And then and then after all of that his body completely breakdown yet so the point where he's basically a mobile. And then he has the U addiction to Veoh viewers in the pain prescriptions. And I think eventually you get to the point with tiger at least I did worthy human being I looked at the site you know. I I don't know. I'm the guy who he he has demonstrated more grit and and are not our call off now or sports I'm talking about him as a human being. Be the ability for him to come back from ball back to walk out onto the golf course in the sport where you don't Wear a helmet. And you can't hide behind a team where it is you know everybody's right on top you physically when you kerrobert golf course and there's billions more watching at home. Your fate is there that you're looking up in your in your basically saying are back. And I'm going to swing again. I think that says a tremendous amount about the way this guy is wired. And for me. I got an acre I hit I admire that I really do and I I think a lot of people. Who have you know been through their own fault. I'll be right now done that no question I agree that it won't what's interesting though is that you think you talked you'll be able to carve the ability come by compartmentalize. Stay so focused wall having your personal life in tatters because of his mistakes. All elements of that. The defective he was the fact you have affairs and the fact he was so mentally tough both of those things. Are due to his father which is kind of interesting I mean both the dubbed both of those firms that. You know increase these presidents have been here I I'm one of those guys who thinks all of us so many of our personal narratives. Our product. Our parrots and informed us on some suns from fathers and especially I've found my. My life anyway I think it's Indian. In for Tiger Woods there's no doubt we'd be you know I knew before the book the book cemented guys in the great job you know it's it was almost a book about Earl Woods and Tiger Woods and we are way. That that Utah Earl Woods is the looming figure over Tiger Woods yeah probably to this day in his life there's no there's no way around. There's no way around it and the other thing that we tried to do was to show that all the years. Earl is such a dominant figure that you he literally over Paris and stop now roll call Peta partners Smart it just right limited essentially. Yeah and an R&R mine in our view. Roll it just as important although much understated. Which she's the one who drove him. All of these tournaments where he was you'd who walked eighteen holes with him weekend after weekend who literally carried a scorecard around. When she kept score shouldn't is the core what was going on on the golf course. She kept score all the people around him tiger's record and she was. Ruthless and relentless in her protection of Tyre and I think she instilled in him some things that were. So when hence I mean which you would say things like when you have your opponent down you step on their back. You you don't have mercy I mean when you think at that genteel nature of golf. She was actually. Training her son the way you might train up fox. And or someone who plays of violent and aggressive sport she was in in our minds just as important in this equation is Earl. She just never got the attention better look out because of the way rural water. We title with a lot of ways is is another example I was one of its had a lot of success but the weird way he's not different than Ayman el Macaulay Culkin or Gary Coleman in that he was a television child star. If the age of like two or three years old. In his entire childhood was treated differently than other kids it's almost inevitable the way they're very few child serve on our I guess people like that. Who don't fall into this put it when you're not a regular human being. The stuff that happens is there's inevitability to thank. Yeah you know occurred I would say yeah you're looking at the greatest athlete in in particular sports. If you look right now at its operating in football Ron gains in basketball is Roger Federer hatter. At Tiger Woods in golf. If the thing is you can't really compare tiger to those other three that I did mention. He's more of purple of Michael Jackson Elvis Presley. That's the better comparison for him because when he was two. He was performing in front of millions of people Tom Brady was not feeling. No Tom Brady wasn't doing that until he used what I mean it's just it was different. Right yeah that's right and that's why I think it would make more. It's a look at him as a child prodigy Anna has. Someone who is what Jimmy Stewart that when Jimmy Stewart was with Bob Hope and equipment and they were the show was over. Jimmy Stewart made a very critical observations or record in the book. He turned in my other than that I I've seen my share coach children like this one in the current tire and starry eyed parents. Referring to that it is quite what it. These things don't usually turn out well and it and I just thought that was a profound observation Jimmy Stewart made at the very Elena it's career. You've seen how this machine destroyed these child stars and I think he was. He was concerned about what was to happen in this. I define. Could be surprise at the high school girlfriend was so willing to talk. Maybe she wasn't going to first mission presuming him. She wasn't willing at all actually very apprehensive I work with her three year record he was willing to act the UAW's. We were just very patient and we didn't put people. We were very consider the fact that there were. There were good reason why someone like her would not wanna talk to us are concerned that you would be exploited that she would be sensationalized that. She would you know be hurt by. The way we might frame what you send but eventually she trusted and not start. Doing interviews and I had a really good relationship with her I interviewed her many times I had a lot of respect for her apparently. And I also what I detect. Accident earth and it really want a long ways with Maine is that she did not have an ax to grind. And she is not angry at Tiger Woods and to me that was really important I. I really didn't want to interview women who had axes to grind and were out taken down a panic. I was looking for women. Who who had meaningful relationship with him. And you actually really cared about him and I sent that she did that and so. I ended up spending a lot of time and I gave her as much attention of the narrative that we did because. She had a really. She was his first love I mean the first woman that tiger was an network was per. I think the local real I think you know should we really good for tiger and I think tiger was good for I mean they were really good couple per reader. I'm happy to take a break here to talk on my great friends and builds we've talked a builds all the time we love them Dana with a bill we have all the people there. And get ready for the summer with Tom and I use Tommy bahama vineyard vines was impose my clothes I walk in there the stuff I like a picket. They LB also bio picks up second disaster on my own. Millions is the store for men very casual if you want that each one will pick a million bucks for the suit the tuxedo he can do that is well we know how. In 2008 he'll look around the office right now bogeys or worse who around here. You know where somebody look at your sweater. From talk about how many of the vineyard buying short on you can you can you console page get the shoes you wanted goes you can look great during the day and night went great golf. Open your summer vacations but also take care very injury and by the way be so you were nice suit. Or go to a wedding for touch heal builds we'll take care of that for you as well the prices are great the closure rate was reportedly for meat they are comfortable as can be. And I know when I go into the going to help me look good and a great price Milton is the store for man we are so happy or sponsor per gallon and nothing about me. Social applause in Braintree in chestnut hills where Chester hill once again builds the sore from it. While a bullet. One associate Tammy I'm guessing I'm just presuming again you've tried to reach out and speak to Tiger Woods right for the book. Absolutely that was bought the book our media don't. Yeah I mean that beat the rejection came through his spokesman Glenn Greenspan and you know his agent mark Steinberg would copy I was correspondent. We we actually. We did pound tiger nor were we prize that he didn't wanna talk to us. We've with a one disappointment for us. Was that we didn't get the opportunity even have a conversation when I'm not part about it interview. Our approach was we we didn't initially asked for an interview what we asked or was conversation right operated is to meet. And talk about what we were attempting to do. And in the week it you know come to a place where you might be willing to eventually do an interview without. But we couldn't even get the content. A com but you know it's fine most market these are written about. It's it's. In most instances Margaret don't get to talk to their subjects. And so. That that wasn't really epic. It was a big problem. The parts of the book and I say it to be and he was national I I agree to them looking the scope of of his life and at that put this way whatever pages. 100 through 250 seems like that you're right and I don't and on what kind of dad he is now I don't mean mistakes I don't know that we read stories. Like the woman who rented out the host of the gas at 20 or two of the guys that you know worked with him we fired or Williams or Haney. Or even a mere of the ration BO film here where the way he truly tip people the way he treated people. I mean he had a stretch where I mean this was not. And not a pleasant human being. I'm Anderson I mean that the story the gust of the woman who rented out. The house and in tigers knew that long distance calls made a stop on the sheets and it was a mass there's no thank you know. There was nothing I mean that's a guy who you know is an adult is one of the most famous people in the world and treated in his mind a little person like garbage now. Our I thought that. You're referring to and basically retired during the war Mark O'Meara who was is mentor a neighbor and friend. Had a relationship with a woman thank you Louis U at home. In Augusta and pick you look at. Would rent or own the market Alito merit every year the masters tiger started staying there when he can adjust during the toward the single and apparently yet. And he would stay would be on merit at that house and eventually it became that was the place he went every year by the time has you know other relationships or even eagle and stayed there with him when your. But he never acknowledged Equus is never thanked her he'd ever get very never actually. He said he every dictator sustain earmark we paid the ball. And all she wanted she was a very simple person the school teacher and she was. Thrilled that Tiger Woods was staying in her home in it it would have meant the world that currency would have been one of the biggest bands on earth if he would have just. One times shaker and it sent a lull. Really that's about what's what's what's that about where the core what is that. I think it you know you I think at that time in his life there was certain massive blind spot for him I mean massive blind spot. In terms of the things like all the people around him. That helped them be who he wants or is it takes a lot of little people who do simple things. It makes somebody you know beat the best in the world or something and if you go all the way back the beginning that here. There are always been people around who were helping him swing coaches people were making his golf clubs. Teachers. John merchant as person lost or an amateur. Are all of these people you know pave the way for him but the finger at pearl never there. Was Earl was never good spanking people he was always good at asking for things are demanding things. He was never good at saying thank you which is simple to work that. You're in it he needed to honor and I think tiger. I'm not excusing. Tiger becoming that way but he never saw that example out of boy. In his bat when he became the man he didn't do either error and I figured it really hurt him in a lot of ways because. Matt. You know you mentioned chipping you know we went to beggars and he instead of being like Charles Barkley who was very generous tipper who always took care. The valve in regard to the table. You know waitresses in the restaurant. Tiger didn't do that he was the opposite of that area I think they're down part of that is his personality. And part of that is the people you surround himself. I also think the other did that too big other big parts are number one he was famous for his whole life and nothing is used an only child. I think that that combination and used in the it was not just an only child I mean he was sort of the you know. He was raised to be to be what he was I I selling they ever that's ups was an important. No it wasn't I mean unfortunately a lot of the the human elements were left by the wayside. During the intense focus on golf and then secondarily. On education than they. Peter is smarter sheet grilled him on flash cards he drove them are all kind of things at a very early age. But there was no. Grooming really when he came to the soldiers which is why when he went merits first Crawford high school. One of the things that she noticed early on was there was social awkwardness. He didn't have a eat your ability to to communicate and get along. Which is peers. On the other hand. He he demonstrated an ability way beyond his years to communicate and get along at all when you as a teenager. All of that traces back to what was going on in his own. Right. Then yet initially which obviously is a million things that book is great but does this does parts like the part or parts I find interesting. It was covered in dale Haney covered in depth in his book to assist. The semi how close do you think Tiger Woods was to actually. Leaving the towards that number one player in the world obviously time in his prime in trying to become a seal I mean was that something was even feasible was dreaming I mean. You know if one is no chance of only ten is realistic how close is that. To actually happen you wanna great detail about restraining he went away in secret not missions that sort of ten missions amuses something he was actually close to doing. It something that he definitely really wanted to you sure you're very serious about it and he was willing to do it. The sum up the some of the injuries to his body were actually clause. An aggravated by the green is doing with seal means eat he would actually running curricula houses and jumping out of planes. Running around with backpacks there and wait cinema mean. He was doing things that no golfer would mean Hillary and you really want. Fixated on our I think that you know people their lowest in that regard it doesn't make sense when you're the number one. When you're the number one person at anything in the world why we wanted to produce something like that. But I think it was there was always a huge void in in tiger's life and there was always this quest of our needing and wanting more which is why I thought it was. Fascinating. Are we interviewed one of the girls and women that he had a great relationship where I'm proud mark to reply. She was like more like a sister to him than anything it eat it by the owner wants that that there one place you. Love to be more than any place other than inside the ropes was at the bottom of the ocean. And he said because down there and journal people it's just parents and there's nobody that can get in the he he loved to scoop guy he loved to be in the east the surface of the sea. So we went and interviewed we've found and tracked down the garden talking to scoop he hasn't Florida. I did those interviews with and they were fascinating and he he talked a lot about what it was like each targeted because scuba diver. It is fascinating that it that when you think about awards and that the military training in the field is set to meet at all. Since then went right what you've won an out of school without. He basically did this he masters are right away right I mean are close to. Well he he what he can't even actors who were guarding pretty fast but what he knocked it over I was spear fish and all right into the night. Pick I've targeted spear percent it was remarkable. That after literally one day. They're the skill and the athleticism his hand eye coordination was so long believed what he says he was better and the instructor. We're from the books perspectives what you're going comments from the books perspective the only two guys write a book together you guys have done this before. Is it simply you're gonna write this chapter I'm gonna write this chapter you go talk to the to the teacher who says that you know it was in the refute them that it's a great part of the book because I mean if you read that. He'll from the Gary Smith. Profile other stuff like you know it's hard to believe it's in it's it's it's strains rock credibility that this happened at tiger of the people threw rocks and paint it is dispersed it can go it's unbelievable. I mean this is one guy go do that then you go talk to the ski instructor and he goes and talks to heating you good talk to a mere in the and you write separately here's a more collaborative how does that work. Great question for all of the data that whole business about there in the garden. Racial incident the assault and unraveling it was all Armand. And some incredible investigative journalism that you're that he's the one who went in on unraveled that whole thing. And put that together they did an amazing job during. Basically on the right in part. This is our second put together when we wrote the system college football and football. Years ago we hear it literally do every other chapter sort of speak you know weaker different universities in architect Alabama out at Michigan and I took. You are you want to straighten. Oklahoma State. Seems easier to simply 'cause and our relate. It it Marty you're at it doesn't mean it started to the reader right you can't you got on biography. And so the way we partners and responsibility that I I basically took the lead on writing the narrative and because it has it's down it's got to be one voice. And so on we we broke up the reporting responsibilities and arm and so you know while I guess you be certain. Can you gardens and all that I took the women and in her years Stanford and stuff so we we did have a division of labor there but I we've we've made a strategic decision on the writing. You know be right there you know punch through the narrative. And the way we do it and I'd I'd write a chapter or use it as a core problem and then I would you know Cinemark and Aaron and here we go through it and you know edit and policies and and send back in May. And and then I did an excellent and the and that's how we plowed through. And apparently we figured we act that way there was no way it was gonna work like all right these they're in power. That would that would not work. What led you. To you know has been male tigers written books is desperate books and he's written books sloppy over books and long you know. Always back to Charlie piercing Jerry Smith all these long profiles. What led you guys when you're picking your subject to say OK you know what. These guys have all done this but maybe we can do something else and he what what was that. Optimism of where boy allegedly believed you could pull off. While we we we looked at that we no but no one written you know I'd a definitive. Comprehensive biography that covers the whole field. I guess my point is why did you what did you think that was possible. Well we could expect it could be hoped it would spot we'll be right we saw we saw something there that we bought could be aren't. Hank Haney wrote an eight Lockheed did that is that the slot that is great but it covered that snapped out of it like. All about that jumped up on the forget this question no chance to sigma. If you would said the statement at the start you would never run into possibly people who weren't allowed to talk about this aren't you stunned that you make in the book. The Haiti never had to sign a confidential agreement that is stunning to me. I mean everybody else just they're people who what the third grade with a wooden portable color of the locker sports school in Hank Haney who's been with him. The whole time. I did never signed anything that is in stats for me. If we yeah he was I think he was as shocked as we work what were you told us that. Armor and armored gather in my office which is that particular interview with Eric earned a global what you generally what. That is insane she's the go ahead. But it. Throughout sort anyways the point it is that we knew he book is great there were some terrific profile that you mentioned Jerry's that Charlie pierce such aren't aren't. Great great writers who cover tiger at different port that is like. But nobody had ever taken all of it and keep it all together in and that's what a biography is that not a snapshot. It's a low a comprehensive. Like portrait up there you know their current moment and so we do that had not been done and we also. Understood not long that we Rivera why I have been I don't think anybody on the golf or could've written apps are. It. All right no no but yeah. You know I mean he did you write you now you can't do that and so. We came out of his biographers and we decide to us it was an advance. Privilege and opportunity. Here to write real polite story of the greatest golfer was everywhere and in so while we knew it would be hard. We also cut the pay off and B was going to be great jewelry. You know our. I hesitate to answer that just because I know historically. Although they don't like to admit it you've read everything that's written about them Joerg. Has arm whether he will or not I don't know but I I like which you know a regular in Tehran it yet and she sent. You know aren't I I. Didn't like in a lot require read the book where I'd like them a lot after I read it. Aaron that's kind of armor white responded after you rather my life's not a call them and she's not certainly not Tiger Woods fan. Went to finish reading it she's at her her impression of him was much more sympathetic and he wants you wouldn't put my wife and say that about any. Leaders from the aggressive follow sports so. You know that was my take away. My name of the book is just Tiger Woods Jeff Bennett dharma Catania obviously get an Amazon Barnes noble in the words pin number one right now and I'm near times bacillus. Yeah congratulations on that is it and I'm telling ya what I've but it said when I first picked up I saw the cover I'd heard about that. African Tiger Woods like coming here about how determined you all the same (%expletive) over and over again. It's one of the one of the best sports part of these I've ever read I'm pop perfectly happy saying that doesn't tremendous job aren't you proud. Where are a lot. Certainly at Harvard there are very capable level appropriate just up the great work Jeff I appreciate the time thanks so much. Thank you guys thanks to a secure enough about me was curtain and and if you want more great podcast it's pretty easy you can go to stitching good. ITunes you can look up enough bubbly with Kurt remains to find want to Shawmut domino Bob Bryan Dan Shaughnessy. David Porter Adobe more in which can do we like them you writer's view that'll help us out a lot give us your rating. We can help you you can help us get. Is that done do it right now.
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