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Jeff Benedict: Tiger Woods Is The Most Famous Athlete Ever

Ryan Mayer

It hasn't been easy to get an inside look into the life of Tiger Woods during the course of his career. Woods is known for keeping a tight inner circle of people that he trusts and few of them are willing to speak to the media. However, that hasn't stopped us from getting small peaks into Tiger's life, through pieces like Wright Thompson's for ESPN, or through Steve Helling's Tiger: The Real Story book from a few years ago. Now, there's another book out on Tiger's life, one that is perhaps the most exhaustively researched and expansive that's been done.

Tiger Woods, written by co-authors Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, offers an inside look at the golfer's infamous scandal in 2009 and backtracks to trace the story of his life and how he got to that point. For Benedict, that night in 2009 was the only way to open the book because, he says, that was the most pivotal moment of Woods' life.

"We had a lot of debate on where to open the Tiger Woods story. There's a lot of points where you could jump off from," said Benedict in an interview with CBS Local. "We decided to open with what was the most dramatic and pivotal moment in his life, which is the night that his wife discovers on his cell phone that not only has he been having an extramarital affair, but he's been lying to her about it, and now she's caught him. Moments after that, he's in a bathroom in his house in Isleworth with the door locked, under the influence of Ambien, and his wife is on the other side of the door demanding that he come out. It's a moment where he has to decide: 'what do I do now?' What he decides to do is flee, and of course moments later, he's going to be on the ground, on the roadside having just crashed his car into a fire hydrant and into a tree. It's the beginning of the unraveling of his life."

After the book's opening sequence, the authors painstakingly construct a timeline of Tiger's life leading up to that moment to try and understand the origins of where this all began. From the 250 interviews that Benedict and Keteyian conducted, one clear genesis emerged: family.

"One of the most important lines from the television series Breaking Bad was 'family is everything.' And I think that line applies more than ever, to Tiger Woods," said Benedict. "We spent an enormous amount of time trying to understand the childhood and adolescent years so that we could make sense of what happens later. Everybody knows what happens later in this story. This is a story that eventually is going to go completely off the rails. But, we're interested in going all the way back to the genesis of that and the genesis of that is a little ranch home on Teakwood in Cypress, California."

Tiger wasn't interviewed for the book, which made putting it together more of an undertaking than it was already thought to be. To hear more from co-author Jeff Benedict about the process of writing the book and what he learned, check out the video above.


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