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 the bestselling author of sixteen non-fiction books and he’s a television and film producer. His latest book, The Dynasty, is the definitive inside story of the New England Patriots under Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Published in 2020, it was an instant New York Times bestseller. In 2018, Jeff co-wrote the #1 bestseller Tiger Woods. Jeff was an executive producer on the HBO documentary “Tiger” that was based on the book and aired in 2021. The book is currently being developed into a scripted series, which Jeff is executive producing. Jeff is also the executive producer on a documentary based on his book Poisoned that will air on Netflix. Jeff has written over 100 stories and has been a special-features writer for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and the Hartford Courant, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times. His work has been the basis of segments on 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO Real Sports, Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, 20/20, 48 Hours, NFL Network, CNN, and NPR.

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