ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com senior writer Wright Thompson’s feature, “The Secret History of Tiger Woods,” examines how the once-elite golfer’s life has unraveled since his father’s death in 2006.
One premise in the piece, which debuted online April 21 and will be in the “Fame” issue available on newsstands April 29: Earl Woods’ passing seemed to have set his son adrift, personally and professionally. Woods once had an idyllic marriage and seemed destined to smash any golf records he hadn’t already. In the 10 years since losing his father, Woods’ relationship and game crumbled in a whirlwind of scandal, injuries and doubt.
Thompson’s writing provides tremendous detail about Tigers Woods’ fascination with military culture – a trait that seems fitting given his father’s military background – illustrated with photos of the iconic athlete working with U.S. Navy SEALS. It also features quotes from one of his few athletic peers, NBA legend Michael Jordan (whom Thompson profiled in 2013).
On Mike & Mike and SportsCenter, Thompson answered many questions about writing the piece, which reflects 18 months work.
“If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that he’s an unbelievably thoughtful and complicated guy,” Thompson, on Mike & Mike, said of Woods. “And you know, the headline is ‘The Secret History of Tiger Woods’ and it could very well be a secret history of Tiger Woods.
“I feel like if you went and talked to eight people who really know him you could conceivably have eight different people describe him and all of them would in some way be true. So I don’t want to say this is the ‘global’ Tiger Woods. He’s a complicated guy.”