THE BOOK OF REV­E­LA­TIONS

Golf World (UK) - - DJ’S DISTANCE SECRETS -

Three long years in the mak­ing and with the in­sights of more than 400 peo­ple, many speak­ing on the record for the first time, the new book Tiger Woods presents the most com­pre­hen­sive por­trait of the world’s great­est golfer ever writ­ten. A boy both blessed and cursed, Tiger Woods re­veals the hu­man be­ing long hid­den be­hind the golf­ing ge­nius, chart­ing his rise, fall and re­birth in painstak­ing de­tail. Here, in an ex­clu­sive ex­cerpt, we se­lect six of our favourite tales.

Tiger’s halo ef­fect was also clearly ev­i­dent on the PGA Tour’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with its net­work part­ners and tour­na­ment spon­sors. When Woods turned pro in 1996, to­tal purses amounted to $68 mil­lion per year. By 2001, the num­ber had swelled to $175 mil­lion. In 2003, it would jump to $225 mil­lion. But per­haps the biggest in­di­ca­tion of Tiger’s abil­ity to draw rat­ings was the Mon­day Night Golf matchups that IMG had put to­gether with ABC Sports. The sec­ond in­stal­ment, billed as the “Bat­tle at Bighorn,” pit­ted Tiger against Ser­gio Gar­cía at the lux­u­ri­ous Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Cal­i­for­nia, near the end of the 2000 sea­son. The headto-head con­test drew a (TV) rat­ing of 7.6, the high­est in the se­ries. Re­mark­ably, nearly eight mil­lion view­ers tuned in on a Mon­day night in late Au­gust to watch Gar­cía and Woods com­pete in prime time. But when Gar­cía edged Tiger by a sin­gle shot to claim the $1 mil­lion prize, Woods was so up­set that the fu­ture of the se­ries was in jeop­ardy.

Los­ing out on a mil­lion bucks was one thing – the blow was soft­ened by his guar­an­teed $1 mil­lion ap­pear­ance fee – but Tiger didn’t like for his sta­tus to be threat­ened. The last thing he wanted was to give Gar­cía the slight­est hope that he could beat him when it counted, on Sun­day in a ma­jor. So he told IMG’s Barry Frank, the cre­ator of Mon­day Night Golf, that he was done. Fin­ished. Quit­ting the se­ries.

Frank had played more than his fair share of hard­ball at ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­bles around the world. He knew bullsh*t when he heard it, and this was no bullsh*t. Woods was the draw­ing card. With­out him, Mon­day Night Golf was his­tory. But Frank hadn’t ne­go­ti­ated record-break­ing rights deals with­out hav­ing a flair for the dra­matic and know­ing how to keep a card or two in his back pocket. He played those cards now with Woods and Team Tiger. What about a change in for­mat, Frank sug­gested. Mixed teams? Four­ball in­stead of match play? “That way,” he told Woods, “if you don’t win, it’s not your fault.” Even­tu­ally, Tiger agreed to a new for­mat that en­sured none of his ri­vals would have a chance to beat him one-on-one in prime time. The next year, Tiger and An­nika Sören­stam edged David Du­val and Kar­rie Webb in nine­teen holes. Then, in 2002, Tiger and Jack Nick­laus de­feated Gar­cía and Lee Trevino 3&2. On it went. IMG and ABC prof­ited, and so did Tiger. Over the course of seven years of Mon­day Night Golf matches, Frank es­ti­mated that Tiger earned at least $10 mil­lion in prize money and guar­an­tees from the show.

Frank never ex­pected to be loved by Tiger, but he wanted to be liked, and, more than any­thing, to be re­spected. In an in­ter­view at his home in Con­necti­cut in the sum­mer of 2015, Frank made clear that Woods had never been un­kind or rude, and never owed him any­thing. But at the same time, Frank said they had never shared what he called an in­ti­mate mo­ment, such as a cel­e­bra­tory drink or lunch, and Woods had never once of­fered a sin­gle word of thanks for ev­ery­thing Frank had done for him. Sit­ting on the back deck of his sprawl­ing ranch home, Frank was asked if Woods re­spected him. A long pause en­sued be­fore Frank, who was cel­e­brat­ing his eighty-third birth­day, an­swered.

“No,” he fi­nally said. “I think I was just an­other Jew do­ing what he was paid to do. That I owed him more than he owed me.”

‘When Woods turned pro in 1996, to­tal purses amounted to $68m a year. By 2001, it had swelled to $175m. And by 2003, to $225m’

As Tiger’s pri­vate plane made its de­scent into Las Ve­gas in the dark, the clus­ter of new megare­sorts be­low came into view. The Mi­rage, Bel­la­gio, Luxor, Man­dalay Bay, the Vene­tian – their shim­mer­ing lights seemed to be wink­ing at him. For Tiger, Ve­gas had be­come a fa­mil­iar place, a home away from home. He fre­quently went there to work with Butch Har­mon, who had re­lo­cated his golf school to nearby Hen­der­son. Tiger’s trainer, Keith Kleven, an ac­quain­tance from his Stan­ford days who was help­ing him build up his en­durance, strength, flex­i­bil­ity, and speed, also lived there. But by the sum­mer of 2001, Woods’ pri­mary pur­pose for go­ing to the desert was to es­cape. His des­ti­na­tion of choice was the MGM Grand, and he had a sys­tem that en­abled him to get there with­out de­tec­tion.

It helped that Tiger never trav­elled with a huge en­tourage. Upon ar­rival, he would step from his pri­vate plane into a limo that de­liv­ered him to the Man­sion, an ul­tra-ex­clu­sive Ital­ian-themed en­clave of twenty-nine vil­las tucked be­hind the MGM. Us­ing a se­cluded al­ley en­trance, Tiger would duck into an el­e­va­tor that took him to a pri­vate floor, where his lux­ury suite awaited. Once in­side, he could stay for days, and no one in the out­side world would know he was there. A per­sonal VIP host was at his ser­vice, ready to de­liver most any­thing upon re­quest – fine cui­sine, a cor­ner ta­ble, end­less rounds of free drinks, ex­otic women, and, most of all, ab­so­lute dis­cre­tion. That’s what made Ve­gas so at­trac­tive. It was his pri­vate play­ground, a place where he could in­dulge with­out fear of scru­tiny, what lo­cals called be­ing “in the bub­ble.” When it opened in the spring of 1999, the Man­sion was billed as an in­vi­ta­tion-only high-rollers’ par­adise promis­ing “be­yond at­ten­tive” ser­vice and ab­so­lute pri­vacy. It was just what Tiger craved, and he had no trou­ble gain­ing ac­cess to it. Vil­las were doled out like four-carat di­a­monds, re­served for “whales”– casino-speak for gam­blers with credit lines of $100,000 and above.

Tiger wasted lit­tle time becoming a whale. He’d al­ways been a num­bers guy, and he eas­ily took to gam­bling in the late nineties when he started bet­ting $100 a hand at black­jack and es­tab­lished a $25,000 credit limit that steadily in­creased over time. Af­ter a few years, Woods would rou­tinely play $20,000 per hand, of­ten on two or more hands at a time. His credit line at the MGM reached $1 mil­lion; only about a hun­dred gam­blers in the coun­try had that kind of limit.

Un­like a lot of celebri­ties who went to casi­nos to party, Tiger ap­proached gam­bling the way he ap­proached golf. He was there to win, and he of­ten did. In­dus­try in­sid­ers in Ve­gas re­ferred to Tiger as “a sharp,” mean­ing he took a very smart, cal­cu­lated ap­proach to his bets and con­sis­tently won more than he lost. He thought noth­ing of walk­ing away with half a mil­lion in win­nings, and he didn’t chase big losses.

Tiger’s at­ti­tudes to­ward money and peo­ple were al­ready well in­grained. Even when a meal was free – and it al­most al­ways was – Tiger rarely left a de­cent tip. And as far as tip­ping door­men, bell­men, and valets? It got to the point where PGA Tour rep­re­sen­ta­tives were of­ten qui­etly leav­ing $100 tips on Tiger’s be­half with locker room at­ten­dants at Tour stops to keep his par­si­mo­nious ways out of the press. For Tiger, even the most ba­sic hu­man ci­vil­i­ties – a sim­ple hello or thank you – rou­tinely went miss­ing from his vo­cab­u­lary. A nod was too much to ex­pect. Tiger didn’t learn all of this be­hav­iour from his good friend, NBA su­per­star Michael Jor­dan, a fre­quent – and not par­tic­u­larly beloved – vis­i­tor to Ve­gas. If any­thing, this sense of en­ti­tle­ment had been orig­i­nally au­thored by Earl. Tiger’s re­la­tion­ship with Jor­dan sim­ply pro­vided re­in­force­ment.

“When Tiger got fa­mous, he got mean,” said a for­mer night­club owner.

‘Tiger’s credit in Ve­gas was $1m – only 100 gam­blers in the US had such a limit’

While Elin was over­seas, Tiger went to Ve­gas, where he re­mained for a VIP bash cel­e­brat­ing the grand open­ing of Light, an up­scale night­club in­side Steve Wynn’s Bel­la­gio ho­tel. Tiger’s go-to guy at the Man­sion had set him up with an all­ex­penses-paid comp. Pre­vi­ously, Tiger had hung out with Barkley and Jor­dan at places like Drink or the bar at P.F. Chang’s. Light, how­ever, was a whole new scene, the kind of place that lit­er­ally put the “sin” in Sin City. It catered to a young, hip crowd with money to burn, and of­fered – for a $300 fee – pre­mium white-glove treat­ment and a chance to party with A-list stars.

With lit­tle more than a nod, a VIP could have his host es­cort a woman from the dance floor and dis­creetly de­liver her to his ta­ble. Light’s ru­n­away suc­cess spawned sim­i­lar nightspots, each try­ing to be more ex­clu­sive and se­duc­tive than the last. But the open­ing of Light marked the first time that the casino in­dus­try had em­braced an up­scale night­club that catered to the rich and fa­mous, and it quickly be­came Tiger’s des­ti­na­tion of choice. “It was ab­so­lutely crazy, out of con­trol,” said one long-time Ve­gas in­sider who par­tied at the club along­side Woods.

One night not long af­ter the grand open­ing, Tiger and an­other high-pro­file ath­lete had set­tled into their VIP ta­ble, in a back cor­ner just off the dance floor, when they no­ticed a cou­ple of at­trac­tive young women par­ty­ing at a nearby ta­ble. A re­quest was made, and a VIP host ap­proached the ladies with the magic words: “Tiger Woods would like you at his ta­ble.” The brunette and her blonde friend got up as if shot out of a can­non. Later, they ac­com­pa­nied Tiger and the other ath­lete up to a suite at the Bel­la­gio, where they slipped into a hot tub. At one point, Woods took the brunette by the hand and led her out of the hot tub. Avoid­ing the var­i­ous bed­rooms, he in­stead walked her straight into a closet and had his way with her in the dark. The rough na­ture of the en­counter shocked the brunette. She left won­der­ing why he couldn’t have at least taken her to a bed.

Hank Haney knew he was deal­ing with more than a world-fa­mous golfer. He con­sid­ered Tiger’s mas­tery of ev­ery facet of the game – right down to the equip­ment he used – down­right in­tim­i­dat­ing. For in­stance, ac­cord­ing to Kel Devlin, Nike’s global mar­ket­ing man­ager for golf, the com­pany had re­cently shipped a box of prototype ti­ta­nium driv­ers to Woods so he could test them. There were six in to­tal. Af­ter putting the driv­ers through their paces, Tiger told Devlin that he pre­ferred the one that was heav­ier than the oth­ers. Devlin in­formed him that all six driv­ers were the ex­act same weight. Tiger ar­gued oth­er­wise, in­sist­ing that one weighed more than the oth­ers. To prove him wrong, Devlin sent the driv­ers back to the de­sign wizards at the Nike test­ing fa­cil­ity in Fort Worth with in­struc­tions to weigh them. They found that five driv­ers were ex­actly the same weight, but the sixth was two grams heav­ier. When they pulled the club apart, they dis­cov­ered that an ex­tra dab of goo had been added to the in­side of the head by one of the en­gi­neers to help ab­sorb a few float­ing par­ti­cles of ti­ta­nium. The weight of the goo was equiv­a­lent to the weight of two one-dol­lar bills. Yet Tiger no­ticed the dif­fer­ence in the way the driver felt in his hands.

With sto­ries such as that in mind, Haney un­der­stood that it wasn’t wise to con­sider Tiger his student. He knew Woods was test­ing him, and he wasn’t about to get off on the wrong foot by ar­gu­ing with him. As Tiger started to hit balls, they talked about the fact that he wasn’t con­sis­tently able to get his up­per body to ro­tate fast enough on his down­swing. The other thing they worked on was get­ting Tiger’s eyes to stay level through his swing. Woods’ in­ten­sity on the prac­tice range was be­yond any­thing Haney had ever ex­pe­ri­enced. He pro­ceeded gen­tly through this first ses­sion. By the time he re­turned home, Haney had an agree­ment with Tiger to con­tinue work­ing with him. Haney would be earn­ing $50,000 per year – the same amount Tiger had paid Har­mon – and would re­ceive a $25,000 bonus each time Tiger won a ma­jor cham­pi­onship.

Later that week, Tiger played in the Bay Hill In­vi­ta­tional. Af­ter a strong first round, he played poorly, shoot­ing 74, 74, and 73 to fin­ish tied for forty-sixth place. In his press con­fer­ence after­ward, he said that he was very ex­cited about what he had worked on ear­lier in the week and that 90 per cent of his game was good. But what he said pub­licly was al­most al­ways dif­fer­ent from what he re­ally felt.

When Haney showed up at Isle­worth the next day for his sec­ond round of prac­tice ses­sions, Tiger was al­ready on the range, hit­ting balls. He didn’t look up when Haney reached the tee. Nor did he re­spond when Haney pointed out a few things he had no­ticed in Tiger’s swing dur­ing the Bay Hill In­vi­ta­tional. A cou­ple of com­pli­ments from Haney didn’t faze Tiger ei­ther. Si­lence was his way of send­ing a mes­sage. It was also his method for as­sess­ing weak­ness.

“I’m not sure what you’re do­ing here,” Haney fi­nally said. “But I guess you’re try­ing to knock me off my spot. I know what you need to do to get bet­ter. I know what your plan needs to be. So if you’re try­ing to knock me off my spot, it’s not go­ing to hap­pen.” Tiger still didn’t ac­knowl­edge him, but when Haney sug­gested some new drills, he im­me­di­ately ex­e­cuted them with pas­sion and pre­ci­sion. The prac­tice ses­sion was solid. The next day’s ses­sion was even bet­ter. But Tiger stayed in silent mode, pro­vid­ing in­stant clar­ity to some­thing Butch Har­mon had said to Haney the first time he saw him af­ter be­ing suc­ceeded as Tiger’s coach. “Hank, good luck,” Har­mon told him. “It’s a tough team to be on. And it’s harder than it looks.”

‘When Hank Haney showed up on the range, Tiger didn’t even look up. “I guess you’re try­ing to knock me off my spot,” he told Tiger’

The only thing that seemed to be a con­sis­tent source of in­spi­ra­tion was Tiger’s foun­da­tion and a new ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive. Back on 9/11, when he was in St. Louis pre­par­ing to play in the WGC– Amer­i­can Ex­press Cham­pi­onship, the tour­na­ment was abruptly can­celled. With flights grounded, Woods rounded up a rental car and started driv­ing to­ward Or­lando and home. Alone on the high­way for fif­teen hours, he had a lot of time to con­tem­plate what mat­tered in his life. With the coun­try reel­ing in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the dead­li­est ter­ror­ist at­tack in Amer­i­can his­tory, Tiger felt in­spired to do some­thing more in the world. He didn’t have a clear vi­sion, but he knew he wanted to fo­cus his ef­forts on help­ing young peo­ple, and he be­gan to see that the Tiger Woods Foun­da­tion, as then con­structed, was not the best ve­hi­cle. A phone call to his fa­ther led to a brain­storm­ing ses­sion. By the time Woods reached home, he had de­cided to change the fo­cus of his foun­da­tion from golf clin­ics – which had be­come some­thing of a cir­cus act and had lit­tle last­ing im­pact – and grants to com­mu­nity groups to some­thing more mean­ing­ful and last­ing: ed­u­ca­tion.

The re­sult was a four-year ef­fort to fund and con­struct the Tiger Woods Learn­ing Cen­ter, a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity fo­cused on teach­ing sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, and math (STEM) to un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren. The thirty-five-thou­sand-square-foot flag­ship build­ing was con­structed near his child­hood home in Ana­heim, a city with a high per­cent­age of mi­nor­ity and low-in­come stu­dents.

With the grand open­ing sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 2006, Woods was look­ing to gen­er­ate pub­lic­ity. His foun­da­tion re­quested that for­mer first lady Bar­bara Bush at­tend as a guest of hon­our, but af­ter ini­tially ac­cept­ing the in­vi­ta­tion, she had to can­cel. Tiger’s team then ap­proached Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, but he was un­able to fit the event into his sched­ule. His wife, tele­vi­sion cor­re­spon­dent Maria Shriver, was sug­gested in­stead, but she was not quite what the foun­da­tion was look­ing for in terms of star power. With time run­ning out, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Greg McLaugh­lin called Casey Wasser­man, a prom­i­nent en­ter­tain­ment and sports in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive based in Los An­ge­les and the grand­son of leg­endary Hol­ly­wood mogul Lew Wasser­man. Casey, in turn, reached out to at­tor­ney Doug Band, Bill Clin­ton’s long-time coun­sel­lor. Band couldn’t help see­ing the irony in Tiger’s ask­ing Clin­ton for a favour.

“Did they tell you the story?” Band asked Wasser­man.

The story, of course, in­volved the Jackie Robin­son cer­e­mony snub back in 1997, spark­ing a schism be­tween Clin­ton and Woods that was later widened by a sub­se­quent Pres­i­dent’s Cup in­ci­dent in which Clin­ton walked into the US team’s locker room only to see Tiger walk out. Later, Woods re­fused to have his pic­ture taken with Clin­ton when the vic­to­ri­ous Amer­i­can team vis­ited the White House. For th­ese rea­sons, Tiger was sure Clin­ton would never go for it. The ex-pres­i­dent, he in­sisted, hated him. Woods never let a slight go, and he as­sumed Clin­ton op­er­ated the same way.

How­ever, af­ter much wran­gling, the for­mer pres­i­dent’s peo­ple came back and said Clin­ton would be amenable to an ap­pear­ance un­der cer­tain con­di­tions: Tiger had to per­son­ally call and make the re­quest; as an ice­breaker, he wanted to play a round of golf with Woods in Or­ange County when he came out for the event; and he needed a pri­vate plane to travel to the West Coast.

Af­ter sev­eral mo­ments of whin­ing, Tiger got over his re­luc­tance and made the call. A gra­cious Clin­ton put him at ease, and the event and golf game were sched­uled. Wasser­man had al­ready agreed to pro­vide a pri­vate plane, so the deal was done.

“Wow, that was easy,” Woods told ev­ery­one af­ter hang­ing up.

‘When Pres­i­dent Clin­ton hit a way­ward drive, Woods snig­gered, then pro­ceeded to tell a se­ries of off-colour jokes and be ob­nox­ious’

On the day be­fore the of­fi­cial open­ing of the learn­ing cen­tre, Woods met Clin­ton, Doug Band, sports agent Arn Tel­lum, and Wasser­man for the promised round of golf at Shady Canyon Coun­try Club in Irvine. Tiger was hav­ing break­fast with McLaugh­lin in the club­house when Tel­lum and Wasser­man ap­proached. At that point, Woods had never met ei­ther man.

Dis­pens­ing with in­tro­duc­tions, Tiger wanted to know if the pres­i­dent had ar­rived. When told Clin­ton was on his way, Woods replied with a straight face, “I can’t wait to talk about p*ssy.”

Ac­cord­ing to an eye­wit­ness, the sit­u­a­tion got even more awk­ward af­ter Clin­ton ar­rived. Tiger’s be­hav­iour did noth­ing to bridge the gap be­tween him and Clin­ton. At the out­set, Clin­ton started car­ry­ing on, mo­nop­o­lis­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, as he was known to do, be­fore Woods in­ter­rupted and said, “How do you re­mem­ber all that shit?” Once they got onto the course, Tiger acted com­pletely in­dif­fer­ent to the en­tire group, mostly rid­ing alone in his cart and spend­ing an in­or­di­nate amount of time on his phone. Af­ter fin­ish­ing a hole, he would rou­tinely exit the green while oth­ers were still putting, a ma­jor breach of golf eti­quette. When the pres­i­dent hit a way­ward drive, Woods snick­ered. He also told a se­ries of off-colour jokes. “He was re­ally ob­nox­ious,” said the eye­wit­ness. “It was so clear to me that day who Tiger re­ally was. I’ve never seen the pres­i­dent more put off by a per­son than that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

To make mat­ters worse, about a week later, Clin­ton’s of­fice sent a pic­ture of Clin­ton and Woods on the course to­gether and asked Tiger to per­son­alise it and send it back to the pres­i­dent for fram­ing. Whether Tiger for­got or sim­ply ig­nored the re­quest re­mains un­clear. Many months later, a staffer for Clin­ton called Tiger’s of­fice in ex­as­per­a­tion and asked, es­sen­tially, what the f*ck was go­ing on. At that point, Tiger scrib­bled his name on the pho­to­graph and sent it back. Years later, a long-time Clin­ton staffer had un­pleas­ant mem­o­ries of the en­tire au­to­graph episode. “Clin­ton hauled his ass out west, and you can’t sign a pic­ture? The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was a lot of ‘I’m Tiger Woods, king of the world, go f*ck your­self’.”

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