It may not improve your handicap, but Judge Lacey Worrell says that this DVD set will satisfy just about every other need of the Tiger Woods fan.
"His potential is unlimited in whatever endeavor that he wishes to pursue."
Covering everything from his first putts to his phenomenal performances on the PGA Tour, this three-disc tribute golf's legend in the making, Tiger Woods, is a must-have for not only fans of the sport, but for sports fans in general. Woods is one of those rare icons, like Michael Jordan, who has transcended his sport to become something far bigger than the game itself. This analysis of his life and career (up to the end of 2004) features interviews with Woods, his family, and legends and celebrities as diverse as Arnold Palmer, Celine Dion, Wayne Gretzky, and Michael Jordan. The collection leaves no stone unturned as it analyzes everything from Woods's swing to his upbringing to his ability to turn the image of golf from old men wandering around in plaid pants to something far hipper, younger, and more diverse.
Facts of the Case
This collection is divided into three discs that address different aspects of Tiger's life. Tiger's Prowl focuses on his early years up to his dominance of Junior and Amateur tournaments in his late teens. Tiger's Prey is an exhaustive account of his Major tournaments, and Tiger's Prints takes a look at Tiger's mental and physical game, his endorsements, and his charity work. Each disc is narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne (What's Love Got to Do with It), and each contains extra features that relate to the content of the disc.
Tiger's Prowl contains classic home movie footage of Woods's upbringing, as well as his now-famous 1978 appearance on The Mike Douglas Show, where a tiny Woods misses a putt and then places the ball right next to the cup for his next shot, sending Douglas, Bob Hope, and James Stewart into gales of laughter. Woods's first coach, Rudy Duran, recounts the way his young prodigy blew away the older kids in tournaments and shares the fact that Tiger's handicap was only a two by the time he was age five. By the time he was eight, Tiger could score in the 90s for 18 holes. For those of you whose knowledge of golf is limited, this is something grown men at times cannot do.
This disc also touches on the discrimination young Tiger faced on predominantly white golf courses, as he and father Earl Woods recall the silence that ensued as they took to courses in Texas and Florida when Tiger was a teen. Tiger also faced abuse at the hands of grade school classmates, who once even tied him to a tree and threw rocks at him.
Tiger recalls the insecurity he felt at entering Stanford, with its high academic standards, despite the fact that recruiters for the school's elite golf team were wooing him from the age of eleven. A former teammate even recalls that, despite the fact that Tiger was already a famous amateur golfer by that time, he was affectionately nicknamed "Urkel" after the nerd on Family Matters. Of the special features included on this disc, "Tiger Talk" shows more home movie footage of Woods as a little boy, and a very detailed chronology of Tiger's impressive amateur career is included, which mentions the fact that he was already featured in Golf Digest at the age of five.
Tiger's Prey provides recaps and present-day analysis by Woods of his Major tournaments, with a special emphasis on his jaw-dropping dominance of the 1997 Masters at Augusta National, where he became not only the first minority player to win but also the youngest player and with the lowest score. Earl Woods still chokes up as he recalls watching his son make history as he received the coveted green blazer that April day. Tiger's mother, Kultida, gives her own unique perspective on how it feels to watch her son play in a close match. There are also interviews with those who have played and lost against Tiger, and they good-naturedly recall the futility of playing against him early in his professional career.
In the special features on this disc, Tiger takes a look at some of his favorite aspects of the game, for instance fighting the wind at the fabled St. Andrews course and mastering the 12th hole at Augusta. Tiger's American Express golf clinic is also portrayed, as he explains to a rapt audience his choice of clubs and his technique.
Tiger's Prints features a slew of interviews with Tiger's impressive friends, such as Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley. Barkley affectionately refers to his friend as a nerd and comments, "I don't know who's cheaper…him or Michael Jordan." Although Tiger continually emphasizes the fact that he is first and foremost a golfer, the extensive charity work of the Tiger Woods Foundation, which has touched the lives of over 85,000 children across the country, is described in the special feature "Tiger's Cubs." There is also analysis of how Tiger's achievements have transformed the game of golf, in every respect from crowd reaction to media attention to increased security. There is also footage of Woods's crowd-pleasing hole in one at the 1997 Phoenix Open.
This disc also analyzes the physical and mental aspects of Tiger's game, and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer weigh in with their first impressions of Tiger. Some of Tiger's American Express commercials are also included, along with the reactions of his family and friends to his best shots.
One day in 1994 as I was milling around my parents' house, my father, who was watching his usual boring golf tournaments, called me over to watch with him. My dad is the kind of guy who never gets excited. About anything. He is the king of poker faces. So to see him nearly leap out of his chair over a teenager hitting a ball around on a golf course definitely piqued my interest. "Look at this kid! Just look at him!" he said. "He's amazing!" Of course, it was Tiger to whom he was referring, and it was the 1994 Amateur Tournament. Even then, Woods's self-assured yet humble presence was fascinating, and I had to grudgingly admit later that I enjoyed watching him play.
Woods is like Jordan. You don't have to be an aficionado of his chosen sport to appreciate his prowess and dominance. You don't have to understand the rules of basketball to enjoy watching Jordan dunk a ball, and you certainly don't have to be a golf lover to feel the suspense and sheer enjoyment of watching Woods play golf. Woods has brought ratings and a sense of coolness and youth to a sport that once sincerely lacked both. Unlike other sports figures, whose exploits often result in failed drug tests and bar brawls, Woods embraces and appreciates the importance of being a positive role model to kids everywhere, regardless of their background or economic status.
The fact that Woods and the others interviewed on these discs provide present-day analysis of his accomplishments is crucial to this collection's avoiding the feeling of being a mere rehash of his considerable achievements. There is a freshness and attention to detail in the careful editing and organization of each disc. While the discs are best viewed in order, each easily stands on its own, and the detailed scene selections make it easy to quickly navigate to particular tournaments or topics.
The other admirable inclusion in Tiger: The Authorized DVD Collection is an analysis and discussion of his failures: the times when he has swung wildly or fallen into slumps. These discs could easily have focused on the achievements, but the willingness of Woods to discuss failure, and the role it plays in improving his game, keeps the DVDs grounded and helps them to avoid sounding like an extended rah-rah infomercial to promote the Woods brand and legacy. Tiger possesses a matter-of-fact attitude whether he is discussing an achievement or a loss, and when focusing on his 2002-4 slump, he says, "It's okay to fail." A statement like that, especially given the sincerity with which it is delivered, humanizes the man. What makes him different from so many others, however, is that he accepts the failure and uses it as the stepping stone to take his game to the next level.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Earl Woods has been criticized for pushing Tiger as a child, but one look at the sheer joy on Tiger's young face as he dances playfully around a golf course shows that it was not all work and sacrifice. Viewers will also enjoy the long hugs Tiger gives to both his parents as he scores yet another victory; in no way does he come across as someone who dislikes or resents his parents for encouraging him to make the most of his talent.
Other potential objections are not so easily dismissed. The colors on these discs bleed, especially when Tiger is wearing a red shirt. The titles, which are a play on Tiger's name, are corny and unnecessary. Some may also complain that there is not enough emphasis on Tiger's role as a minority, but those who have followed Woods from the beginning may recall his reluctance to be a symbol or to be categorized, given his multi-ethnic heritage. One look at the many faces of the children who attend his golf clinics underscores his universal appeal and negates the necessity for him to preach about racial harmony.
This collection will satisfy the appetite of even the most rabid Woods fan. Even those who know the outcome of the various tournaments featured on these DVDs will feel a sense of suspense as they relive the excitement. Add into that Woods's own analysis of his game and you've got one winning combination.
The court commends the producers of this three-disc set for their attention to detail and exemplary organization. The court also sentences many members of the NBA, NFL, and MLB to view these discs for a lesson in humility from a guy who isn't afraid to discuss all aspects of his game, not just the highlights.
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