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So sports are back and we hear at all American couldn't be happier. Isn't that right, Albert?

[00:00:07]

Yeah, Jordan Sports are back and even better sports betting is back. And I'm so happy about that.

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[00:02:11]

Thanks for your help. What has been the most difficult adjusting for me, the lack of privacy, the loss of privacy, and so it's gone. I know. If you were sitting down to watch this Oprah interview in April of 1997, you probably already knew who Tiger Woods was.

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That's because earlier that month, Tiger won the Masters, a super iconic golf tournament. He was the youngest golfer ever to win it and the first black American golfer to do so. After he won, the media went wild. Tiger was everywhere. He was on CNN and all the cheering for you.

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I think it's kind of crazy because interview during the NBA halftime show, Tiger Woods, he is standing by live with a model shot.

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And, of course, like any huge star in the 90s, he did a sit down with Oprah. That's tough because and also a lot of the bad articles are written as a I didn't do anything to them personally. So why write something bad about me? We don't know. That's not fair. And unfortunately, a lot of people like to take that angle just because, I guess, selfishness. Well, you know what? What happens? And do you think this, too, Mr.

[00:03:22]

Woods? I mean that especially when you see an article like the GQ article that labels you the Messiah, you can't be labeled a messiah without somebody then trying the messiah of sports or golf without then somebody then trying to come along to show how you're not the Messiah. So I think that's the way the media set you up.

[00:03:42]

I'm Jordan Bell. I'm a senior producer at Stitcher Now, but I was only six years old when this interview aired. Plus, I wasn't reading GQ at the time, so I didn't know much about what Oprah was talking about here. This media scrutiny Tiger faced until I met Albert Chen. He's a long time journalist and now my co-pilot for this series. Hey, hey, Paduan.

[00:04:06]

So we first met in December of twenty nineteen while you were still working at Sports Illustrated and you'd been at sea for the better part of two decades, working as an editor and writer, covering a bunch of different sports.

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And last year you even wrote a book about the world of online sports betting. I did. Great.

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So how does it feel having your whole career summed up in, like, two senses?

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I'll take it when I reach out to you. You know, I was really hoping you'd want to get involved with the series because I knew you could give me some direct insight into the sports world.

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And when I first gave you my pitch for the show back in December, I thought it went pretty well. But I did recently find out that you thought this was a terrible idea for a podcast.

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Well, I.

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I didn't think it was I didn't think it was a great idea. OK, you know, mainly because Tiger has been in the spotlight for so long that I kind of thought to myself, what more is there to say about him? But as we were talking, you started asking questions that I just didn't have great answers for, even though I've been a part of the sports media machine for such a long time. Even the very simple question of what is the story of Tiger Woods?

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Is this a feel good, inspirational story? Is it a cautionary tale? Is it even maybe a tragedy?

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Right.

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And to be clear, going into this, the story that I understood from the media about Tiger Woods was that he was widely considered to be the best golfer on the planet.

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And then in 2009, he had this massive sex scandal. Consequently, he wasn't able to perform at the level of golf he had been playing. And he kind of fell off the planet for like 10 years. And then all of a sudden in twenty eighteen, I get this push notification to my phone in the spring saying Tiger Woods won the Masters. And I was like, oh my God, this guy, he's back.

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I completely forgot about Tiger Woods.

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And I got to thinking, are those few moments really just the whole story about Tiger Woods?

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And also how do I know all this stuff about Tiger Woods when I don't even pay attention to.

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Right.

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And the story of Tiger has been with us long before push notifications. You know, his life is just so full of contradictions. He's a multiracial athlete in a predominantly white sport with all of its racist history. And as a result, he's been propped up as this transformative figure.

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Yeah. And yet he's basically been absent from any real conversation about race in our country even now in this really urgent moment.

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Yeah. And you know, beyond that, Tiger is also this Kalki wearing Stanford alum who's been hailed as a role model for kids, but he was like at the center of this huge, huge sex scandal. But the biggest contradiction of all is that he's been in the public eye for so long. But I would say that he's the most private superstar athlete alive.

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You know, our conversation just kind of left me wondering what if the story of Tiger Woods that the media has been telling? What if it's been completely wrong?

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I mean, who is Tiger Woods, right? This is all-American from Stitcher, where every season we tell you about a sports icon to find out what their story can tell us about America itself.

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Season one, tiger. There it is. That's going down in front of my house. They hit a pole. He was on Mount Everest and now he's at the bottom of the river. I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior. No more. Everybody was talking shit on Tiger Woods. I call my dad and then he took came and went back with Jackie. I did not see this coming. I did not see Tiger Woods winning the Masters.

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I didn't see this is episode one, the Messiah. Today, we're looking at two huge media moments from early in Tiger's career, two stories that shaped his image in a big way, just as Tiger Woods was becoming a household name. And these stories, they came out before Tiger sat down with Oprah, one of them Tiger, up to be a messiah like figure, and the other proved that he wasn't. But before we get into those cover stories, we should talk a little bit about Tiger's early relationship with the media.

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This relationship started very, very young thanks to his father, Earl Woods. Tiger started making TV appearances, highlighting his golf skills when he was just a toddler. I'm going to play a couple of clips. The first one is a clip of Tiger at two years old in 1978 on the Mike Douglas Show, which seems like it was sort of the Ellen show of its day. The host, Mike Douglas, would have guests and performances on each episode.

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And on this particular broadcast, the guests were legendary comedian Bob Hope and an actor named Jimmy Stewart. In this clip, Tiger and his dad walk onto the stage and Tiger shyly performs for everyone.

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Earl, how old is how old are you?

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Five to two, and then a few years later, in 1981, Tiger was featured on this ABC show called That's Incredible, where they had people do stunts or display their rare talents. And on this episode, five year old Tiger Woods was invited to show off his golf skills.

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When he wants to hit something he has where he wants to hit it, not only where, but how he wants to hit it. OK, are you going to make a par in the last hour? OK. All right, let's go do it.

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And Tiger continued being featured on network television throughout his teens, which is sort of crazy considering he hadn't even turned pro.

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It just tells you how big the story was for golf. There is this incredible phenom and he's coming. OK, so Feenan, this is a term I've heard so much since I started working on the show and I mean, is this just I know it means phenomenon, but is it like a word that it's just specific to the sports world? Sports media? Yeah. Phenom is definitely one of the most used and probably overused terms in sports writing.

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But, you know, it basically means as a young athlete with a ton of potential in their sport and in the dictionary, they should just be a picture of Tiger next to the term because he was the absolute textbook definition of a phenom.

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Let's get into the first of those two cover stories we mentioned at the top of the show.

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In 1996, Sports Illustrated chose 20 year old Tiger Woods as its Sportsman of the year. At the time, S.I. was the biggest sports publication in America and this was its highest honor.

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And it was a totally insane choice. Why he was so accomplished. Yeah, he was accomplished.

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And, you know, he was he was well known at this point, but he hadn't even won a single major tournament yet. And Sportsperson of the Year is not really about potential. LeBron James didn't win the award until he was nine seasons into his career, and it was only after his first title.

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And Serena Williams didn't get the honor until she was thirty four years old.

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So, look, I mean, in 1996, Tiger was a really, really good and promising golfer, but it was still like this crazy, incredibly bold pick on Sports Illustrated's part because as a professional tiger really hadn't accomplished anything yet.

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OK, so why would they choose him? Well, it's an undeniably great story here. You have this young black golfer completely exploding this white sport. And in naming Tiger Sportsman of the Year, Essi gives people a great feel good story and they get to sell a boatload of magazines in the process.

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It's like a business decision. Yeah, it's Essi jumping on the Tiger story and taking complete ownership of it, going all in and also raising the stakes. But it also has to be a hell of a story. And to write it, the editors give the assignment to Gary Smith. At this moment, Gary is regarded by a lot of people as the best magazine writer in America. Well, I was lucky enough to do a number of pieces on Muhammad Ali that was always good, great fun hanging with him.

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We spoke with Gary, as we do these days, over Zoom. He was in the attic in his home in Charleston, where he's written many of his most memorable pieces, including this Tiger Woods profile.

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What do you think Tiger Woods sort of stacks up in terms of the big names or moments you've covered in sports?

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You know, he was right at the precipice of beginning his professional career at that point. He's just embarked on it. So and he was very young and guarded. And so he what he does is he does not rank anywhere near the top hundred of interesting characters.

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Also, Gary is not exactly thrilled by Tiger's chosen sport. I don't like golf at all.

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And I've only written to Golf Stories magazine stories in my life.

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But in 1996, there was a bunch of hype about this kid. So Gary was definitely intrigued. And the first time Gary saw Tiger in person was when Tiger received the Fred Haskins Award, which is like the Heisman Trophy.

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But for golf, I guess what I really realized the significance of this award was when I was on tour, I'm not very big on awards.

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I don't understand the ramifications.

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Tiger's giving this acceptance speech at the Haskins banquet, but this dinner actually had to be initially called off because Tiger had canceled the day before it was supposed to happen.

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But he was such a phenom that they were you know, they bent over backwards. And then this was kind of his make and redemptive moment are showing up to think finally and kind of having to apologize a bit for it after he'd taken a good deal of flack. So I was, you know, showing up for this event and and just watching this kind of phenomenon on the stage.

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Do you remember where you were sitting?

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And kind of like, yeah, I can picture myself over to the right, you know, about halfway back in the room, over on the right side of the table, you know, one of these typical round tables with eight to 10 people sitting there. And I'd been at, you know, several you know, maybe 100 of those in my life and loathed every one of them pretty much.

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This dinner is also where Gary first met Earl Tiger's dad. Earl introduced his son on stage in what was one of the most memorable moments of the evening.

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He wasn't just presenting Tiger for the award.

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His father had chosen that moment to kind of like, here is my son, and offering him to the world, almost taking a moment that, you know, pretty cliched, you know, banquets, speeches, you know, and everybody sitting around in their ties and sport coats and the clinking chinaware and the waiters weaving in and out tables and the blende, you know, things being set up on the stage that suddenly, you know, here's this father saying, I give my son to the world and he is going to change the world unlike any other human being.

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This is my gift to the world. Please, you know, take it and treat it properly.

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So I my you know, my pen was waggling and I was like, wow.

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Right from the start of reporting, Gary was really clear with the Wood's family that he needed a lot of time and access to do the story justice. But Tiger wasn't giving very much to work with.

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You know, Tiger wasn't real eager to spend lots of time, you know, in-depth conversations. A number of those conversations, or at least one or two of them occurred while he was watching SportsCenter. You know, he kind of checking in and out and trying to answer the question as efficiently and, you know, painlessly as possible. What if you take her out of the equation?

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Is this even a story that you would be interested in? Know God, no. I would have been so, you know, distraught, staring at my notepad and like, why the hell did I take agree to do the story?

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You know, Earl Woods was definitely interesting in his own right. And in the end, Earl's role in Tiger's life was really the story here.

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I mean, once you just get to the bare bones of the father's back story and and, you know, the fact that he's a press, you know, in the press department of the U.S. Army in Brooklyn and decides in his mid 30s that, you know, that he wants to go and become a Green Beret and go tours of duty in the jungles of Vietnam.

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Then that father with that kind of a backdrop is going to now take these elements that he's learned in the jungles of Vietnam and use them as, you know, a pressure device around his son to help, you know, forge this great young golfer up from an almost from infancy there, that the ingredients are there for something different.

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It's hard for. Another person to try and play mind games on me because of all the things he's done, nobody is that deliberate with.

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This is Tiger at 16 years old talking about his dad on a CBS Sunday Morning segment.

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That's the only voice that will get me. It's my dad. Earl actually had a habit of swearing at Tiger mid swing during practice. Tiger writes about it in his first book. Sometimes Earl would call him a motherfucker or a piece of shit or even use the N-word, quote, He would push me to the breaking point and then back off.

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In their interviews, Earl told Gary that he believes Tiger would be the greatest golfer of all time and that it was his role to get Tiger ready for that. But Earl also believed the tiger would do much more. Here's an excerpt from Gary's story. Anyone? Mr. Woods yourself will have more impact than Nelson Mandela or that Gotlieb or the Buddha? Yes, because he has a larger form than any of them, because he's playing a sport that's international. Because he's qualified through his ethnicity to accomplish miracles.

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He's the bridge between the east and the west. There is no limit because he has the guidance. I don't know yet exactly what form this will take, but he's the chosen one. He will have the power to impact nations that people, nations. The world is just getting the taste of this power. Do you remember struggling with that? I mean, do you remember? Sort of.

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Yeah, it was it was a struggle. I mean, you have a father who's presenting his son to the world, is almost setting him up for failure, right?

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I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah. Here you're setting yourself up and you're saying this young man of mine is going to change the world in a way that no human being ever has. And you're at first thinking, you know, we're talking about more than any other sports figure or athlete. And you just keep, you know, as a question of pushing the envelope.

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How far you you really mean we taken this what Gary found an Earl he could not find in Tiger, the sportsman of the year himself.

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He was not going to get into a loose and easy, you know, conversation that could go in any way. And he was just like in it for the love of exploration.

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He was just trying to find a concise, efficient answer that, you know, revealed some intelligence, but not a deep dive.

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And so the answers were brief and, you know, decent enough, but, you know, nothing. You didn't want to hang your hat on as a writer.

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Gary ended up framing his story around the trappings of fame.

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Can a man preserve the integrity in the in the midst of this, the spotlight, in the heat of modern fame, enough to somehow be human enough and transformational enough to have that kind of effect that his father foresaw?

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Who grinds you down? You know who who survives this? Can a man possibly come out intact with his integrity and soul in this world of modern fame and Nike commercials?

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So eventually the story hits the newsstands and arrives in mailboxes in December of 1996. So I'm wondering what the reaction to this issue was.

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Well, do you remember when they gave Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize a year into his presidency?

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Yeah, even Obama was like, really? It's kind of the same thing.

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I mean, a lot of people thought the tiger choice for sportsmen was just premature and even that side was being opportunistic.

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The story itself, I think those who remember it look back. You know, they think of it as actually really quite prescient that Gary got to the heart of the complicated future that Tiger would face.

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But what the world really grabbed onto were the comparisons that Tiger's dad made to historical figures. I mean, a lot of people were just like Gandhi. I mean, seriously, Gandhi. Everyone knows about the risks of driving drunk, you could get in a crash, you could get hurt or killed, but that doesn't stop everyone. You could get arrested, you could incur huge legal expenses and you could possibly even lose your job. We all know the consequences of driving drunk.

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That's KSTP Eskom Tiger. Tiger Woods doesn't just play golf, he is golf, he's a man of destiny and whatnot, and he's like another Gandhi.

[00:27:06]

When I bought my dad a house, he was like, gee, thanks, Gandhi, you know, real sarcastic. Like, I guess you expected a bigger house or something.

[00:27:16]

That's a clip from Saturday Night Live in 1997 with Tracy Morgan as Earl Woods and Tim Meadows playing Tiger.

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The buzz around Tiger was red hot at this point, and GQ was the next magazine to come knocking for a tiger cover.

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And remember, in the 90s, magazine covers were a really big deal.

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There were Meems, before there was the Internet.

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This is David Granger. He was an editor at GQ at the time.

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You know, it was like they were they were just these powerful cultural markers and stories had the same kind of resonance. I don't I can't even imagine how everybody knew, like everybody in the world seemed to know when a great story was published. You know, it was just like somehow it just it ripped its way through the world.

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You know, as far as men's magazines go, GQ in the 90s was a real tastemaker with a much broader audience than just sports fans.

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If you were a top athlete and you ended up on the cover of GQ, suddenly you were not just the sports star, you were a superstar after every Super Bowl.

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You just knew that whoever the winning Super Bowl quarterback was, not only were they going to Disney World, they were going to be on the cover of GQ. You know, they could be good pieces, but they were that could be also be kind of fawning pieces.

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You know, they they they were lionizing a great man. And that he was he was the sports story of the time, even though he hadn't won anything big yet.

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He was, you know, I mean, he had already been Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.

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GQ did get Tiger for the cover, but the story didn't end up being a smooth ride for anyone involved, basically after.

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Tiger's experts literally never gave another interview again. Charlie Pierce is the journalist who actually wrote the Tiger cover story for the magazine.

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I mean, I think I think it's fair to say that from the beginning it was Charlie intended it to be a reaction to Gary's piece at the time.

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I think if Charlie had wished that Gary or somebody else had been a tad more skeptical of Gary's piece, The Sportsman of the Year story and Charlie's piece for GQ definitely took a different approach.

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It begins with a really lengthy joke about Jesus and Saint Peter on a golf course.

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OK, golf joke. Jesus Christ and Saint Peter go out to play golf. Saint Peter steps up to the first tee. He's got the sharp designer vines, even got a brand new yellow Monohan.

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I didn't know exactly where he was going. I mean, I knew he sort of bitched about the sports on your profile, but I didn't know that. I didn't see quite the connection. And then I got it. It was like, OK, if if Tiger is our Lord and savior, then is it sacrilegious that he acts this way or for us to say certain things about him? You know, and it was it was a great device.

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After almost seven hundred words of not mentioning Tiger by name, we meet him. And I have it up here, so I'll just read the scene, but I do want to preface this by saying it's pretty uncomfortable to read because it calls on a racist stereotype.

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But you should hear how it was printed in GQ in 1997.

[00:30:39]

So here we go. In the limo, fresh from a terribly worrisome photo shoot that may only help him get laid about two hundred and ninety six times in the next calendar year, if he so chooses, the Redeemer is pondering one of the many mysteries of professional sports.

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What I can't figure out, Tiger Woods, Espenson, the limo driver, is why so many good looking women hang around baseball and basketball. Well, is it because, you know, people always say that, like, black guys have big dicks. And this is the very first thing we hear from Tiger, this quote is like a sudden explosion where everything you thought you knew about Tiger Woods, this perfect image you had of him, it all just goes boom.

[00:31:23]

Yeah, it's super. Not Gandhi esque. No, it isn't. And it's important to know some of the background on how Charlie Pierce and Tiger found themselves in the situation. What it boils down to is that GQ was only able to negotiate a set short amount of time for Piers to interview Tiger. He could join Tiger on Tiger's limo ride to the photo shoot for what would be the cover of the GQ issue. And Piers could hang out with Tiger during the hour long photo shoot and then the two could take the limo ride back afterwards.

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And that's it. And it's also important to know that Tiger doesn't have an agent or a handler with him.

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Right. And that makes sense to me because maybe Tiger wouldn't have made some of these other misguided attempt at humor in the story. Piers tells us that Tiger makes some jokes to the women who are styling him during the photo shoot.

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And one of the jokes is a sexual joke that involves the characters of The Little Rascals, which is the goofy children's movie.

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And he also makes a joke about a black guy taking off his condom and then another one about lesbians.

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Yeah, and it's right after he tells the joke about the lesbians. When Tiger turns to Pierce and says, hey, you can't write this stuff.

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And Pierce in the story says, too late. And everyone laughs. And it's not clear if Tiger thinks Pierce is joking, but he's clearly not because it was too late. You know, Tiger hadn't established at any point with Pierce that anything, especially in this very clearly set amount of time together, that anything was off the record.

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And, you know, one of the first things you learn in journalism, one on one, is that when you're doing an interview with a subject, everything is fair game unless it's established in advance between the two of you that something is off the record.

[00:33:25]

Right. These scenes, I kind of hate them honestly, because I think it's just sad.

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And I almost feel a little embarrassed for Tiger, you know, that he feels the need to make these jokes or perform in this way.

[00:33:39]

But when I asked David Granger, the editor of this piece, about Tiger's comments, he had a totally different reaction.

[00:33:46]

Holy shit, that's really good stuff.

[00:33:49]

Like that's like he had a fortunate reporting experience. You know, this is this is this is going to. Put this person into a new life, you know, because because, you know, it's cold when somebody says something that's completely unexpected or possibly offensive. And Charlie knew right away that he was going to. I mean, he wrote it in the piece that it was going to be interpreted in a negative way and he was going to make a huge amount of news.

[00:34:22]

And it did.

[00:34:23]

But the piece doesn't exclusively reveal Tiger's immaturity. I mean, here's an excerpt from Pierce's writing.

[00:34:31]

These are the articles of my faith. I believe that he is the best golfer under the age of 30 that there ever has been. I believe that he's going to be the best golfer of any age that there ever has been. I believe he is going to be rich and famous, and I believe that he is going to bring great joy to a huge number of people because of his enormous talent on the golf course. This is what I believe about Tiger Woods.

[00:35:02]

This is what I don't believe about Tiger Woods. I do not believe that Tiger Woods was sent to us for any mission other than that of being a great golfer and a better person, as his father puts it. I do not believe that a higher power is working through Tiger Woods and the Nike Corporation. I guess with all that being said, we need to talk about the cover of this, right? Yeah, let's talk about this cover. I mean, it's not an embarrassing cover.

[00:35:34]

It's just kind of a strange one.

[00:35:37]

I think it's amusing, but describe it.

[00:35:40]

Well, so, first of all, Tiger looks so young. I mean, he it's just like a magazine cover pose in a suit. And the suit is like two sizes too big in that niños.

[00:35:53]

Two sizes too big style with wide shoulders, baggy pants there, maybe even some pleat action going on with the pants, you know, maybe a Tom Cruise or a Johnny Depp or some other 90s movie star could pull it off.

[00:36:08]

But, you know, it's just very unconvincing.

[00:36:12]

Yeah, I like Tiger Woods. Looks like the kid at the dance who this kid's mom made him dress up in a suit and be ready and like, I just feel bad for him.

[00:36:24]

He looks so dorky. Charlie Pierce's story in GQ got a lot of attention when it was published, The New York Times ran an op ed entitled Tiger Woods also needs to apologize for distasteful jokes.

[00:36:45]

Tiger's comments were not career ending, but he still had to save face. So he came out with a statement saying, it's no secret that I'm 21 years old and that I'm naive about the motives of certain ambitious writers.

[00:36:59]

In other words, Tiger chalked up his gaffes to youthful inexperience, and he threw Charlie Pierce under the bus for writing the story the way he did. A few weeks later, Earl went to bat for his son on TV on the Charlie Rose Show. And like Tiger, he also accused GQ and their writer, Charlie Pierce, of being in the wrong.

[00:37:19]

They tricked him into talking with these people and he thought he was trying to relax people and make them feel better and more comfortable around him, a celebrity. And he was trying to show them that, hey, you know, I'm just like you and that I did.

[00:37:36]

And they had a recorder on. They were recording this now. If they hadn't had this in mind, they would not have had a recorder, right? So it's unethical.

[00:37:47]

But Pierce's editor, David Granger, maintains that the story was fair.

[00:37:52]

I just remember how. Kind of a Paul. I wasn't, you know, disturbed Charlie was when Tiger's people started saying that the Charlie had bugged the conversation in the car and that in the end trying to. Act as though Charlie had done something wrong when Charlie was just, you know, doing what journalists do.

[00:38:23]

He he used the access that he had to the best of his ability.

[00:38:27]

And I just I just remember kind of being surprised that they were lying about Charlie, you know, really, you know, that's that's that's not fair.

[00:38:49]

Eventually, David Granger moved on from GQ to run Esquire magazine, and Tiger, of course, went on to win and win some more. But when their paths crossed again several years later, Tiger made it clear that he hadn't forgotten the sting of that GQ cover story.

[00:39:07]

Somebody started trying to see if we could do a Michael Jordan Tiger Woods cover in Jordan's camp. Surprisingly, we're open to it. And we so the person, I guess, is this gentleman who is kind of Wrangell. Most of our covers went to Tiger's management, said, like, Michael wants to do this, you know, would you do the cover? And so they said, OK, well, we'll bring it up with him. Next time we can.

[00:39:32]

We'll get back to you.

[00:39:33]

And and the guy calls Lisa back and says, you know, we're not going to do the cover unless you said, OK, can you tell me why? He says, well, let me tell you about the meeting that we have with Tiger.

[00:39:47]

We brought this up and he was, you know, open to it. They said, wait, which magazine and Esquire? And he said, who's the editor of Esquire? And they said, kind of David Granger didn't.

[00:40:01]

David Granger, editor, Charlie Pierce, a story about me for GQ. At that point, he didn't even have to say that he wasn't going to do.

[00:40:18]

So these two cover stories for Sports Illustrated and GQ, one anointing Tiger as the chosen one and the other proving him unfit for the job, they would have been freshly on Tiger's mind when he sat down with Oprah just a few weeks after the backlash from that GQ piece.

[00:40:37]

What has been the most difficult? Adjusting for me like a privacy loss of privacy and always gone?

[00:40:44]

I know Tiger goes on to explain how he feels. It's unfair that the media writes bad things about him when they don't even know him. Then the camera goes to a wide angle and an image of the GQ cover pops up on the screen behind them. And Oprah offers up this theory about the media.

[00:41:03]

Well, you know what? It's what happens. And do you think this to Mr. Woods? I mean that especially when you see an article like the GQ article that labels you the Messiah, you can't be labeled a messiah without somebody then trying the messiah of sports or golf without then somebody then trying to come along to show how you're not the Messiah. So I think that's the way the media set you up there, because somebody said, some editors said and gave that that that label.

[00:41:27]

And then you have everybody else who's out to prove that. No, you're not what they said you were. I'm Hugh. I'm just like everybody else. So you didn't call yourself the Messiah? God, no. I just like to have fun. I'm just like everybody else. I just want to have fun and enjoy life. But, you know, the moral of that story is the GQ story said life was fair, like I thought in that it was fair.

[00:41:53]

But these were I guess we were talking to the back. I guess you learned not to tell any jokes around reporters anymore. No, I've learned my lesson. The hard lesson. Yes. Tiger Woods learned his lesson the hard way, and it seems like he genuinely took that lesson to heart because after this tiger put up a wall between him and the media, no more letting reporters have that kind of access. And although the press still tries to report on his every move and I know this because I have a Google alert set for Tiger Woods, he remains very insulated with very few people within his inner circle.

[00:42:35]

I mean, he even has a yacht named Privacy.

[00:42:38]

But there was a reporter who got to know Tiger before he was world famous. The Woods family let him in and this reporter got to see firsthand who Tiger really was. Next time on all-American, you got all these soft white kids who dominate the sport. I mean, how athletic can it be? Here was an African-American now excelling and. And who was this kid? I want to know because he's going to do something that history has been waiting for, so to speak.

[00:43:10]

all-American is a production from Stitcher, written, reported and produced by me, Jordan Bell for the production and reporting by Albert Chen. Janay Palmer is our story editor. Our associate producer is Temmy Fact Birnley consulting production by Stephanie Kariuki and Abigail Keel.

[00:43:28]

Our executive producers are Daisy Rozario and Chris Bannon. Casey Holford is our mix engineer. He also wrote our theme music special thanks to Peter Cloney and our fact checker Kelvyn Bias. And thanks to Greg Herrman and Ryan F. Johnson, the actors who helped bring the essay and GQ cover stories to life in this episode. Don't forget to rate review and subscribe wherever you listen. Thanks. Ditcher. All American is brought to you by my book. My book is online sports book.

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