SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT

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A few days ago, I received an email from an editor at the New York Times, who asked if I’d be interested in writing an essay about Tiger Woods and his inspiring comeback. On the eve of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, I said yes. The next day, while watching Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testify from my office, I wrote.

Writing, ultimately, is an exercise in thinking. One of the things I thought about as I watched the hearing was how ineffective leadership and partisan politics has fueled so much rancor and divisiveness. Against that backdrop, I couldn’t help noting the irony of Tiger Woods emerging as a symbol of unity. Last weekend, when he won his first PGA tournament in five years, millions of people from all political persuasions were swept up in the euphoria of his triumph. Then, on the day of the hearing, Woods was introduced in a ceremony at the Ryder Cup in France. Thousands of French and other European spectators broke protocol to give him an emotional and lengthy standing ovation, where they chanted his name in French amidst the waving of American flags.

Sports and music are unique in their ability to erase the lines drawn by politics, religion, nationality, race, and class.

There was a time when Woods was vilified for his indiscretions and personal setbacks. It is brutally humiliating to be laid bare for public scrutiny. But there is also something incredibly liberating about reaching a point where one has nothing to hide. Few of us ever really get there. Woods, I believe, is in that place. His comeback transcends golf. It speaks to why so many people are now rooting for him.

Anyway, thank you to the New York Times for the opportunity to pen the essay, which appeared today.

Read Jeff and Armen's New York Times Essay Here

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Jeff Benedict is a best selling author of 14 books and a television and film producer.  His latest book — QB: My Life Behind the Spiral (written with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young) was a New York Times bestseller. He is currently writing the biography of Tiger Woods. He is a producer on the forthcoming motion picture “Little Pink House,” starring Oscar-nominated Catherine Keener with music by David Crosby.  To book him for a speech or private event, contact Ellis Trevor at ellis@chartwellspeakers.com

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