Woods opens door on private life wider than expected, says author of forthcoming biography

By Steven Levingston

Tiger Woods gets high marks for cracking the door open ever so slightly on his highly guarded private life during his TV mea culpa Friday, said the author of a forthcoming book on the golf legend.

Steve Helling, a People magazine staffer who has covered Woods for years, is writing "Tiger," which will be published in May by Da Capo Press. Helling will chart the golfer's spectacular rise to icon status and attempt to explain the personal flaws that caused his downfall. The publisher promises a "never-before-seen portrait" of Woods that reveals him as a "singularly complex and conflicted man."

A second publisher announced Friday that it, too, will keep Woods' woes in the public eye. Atria Books said it will publish "Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season" by Robert Lusetich in June. The book will attempt to dig into Woods' character and show the dissonance between the public persona and the private man. Lusetich, a senior columnist for FoxSports.com, covered every tournament Woods played last year as the star made his comeback from knee surgery.

Helling was in the media room for the icon's performance Friday and found it to be "textbook Tiger Woods: controlled, focused, with nothing left up to chance," he said in an email.

Some observers described Woods as robotic and unconvincing, Helling said, with the women in attendance less impressed than the men. When Woods went and hugged his mother after delivering his statement, Helling said, "there was an audible groan [in the press room]. Many people felt it was contrived."

Although Woods still has a lot of damage control ahead of him, Helling said he was surprised at how far the star had come in talking about his private life. Helling has spoken to Woods in better days and even then the golfer was reluctant to open up, often offering little more than cliches about his marriage.

"So to get specific like he did today must have been incredibly difficult for him," Helling said. "He used the word 'affairs' -- plural. He copped to rehab. He said he 'cheated.' Tiger is not usually so candid. Although he didn't give us everything, he gave us a lot more than most of us expected."

By Steven E. Levingston |  February 19, 2010; 5:05 PM ET Steven Levingston
Previous: Socialist books in the White House library? A blog provides photo evidence but only part of the story | Next: New Yorker's Remnick to write Obama biography


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Tiger's apology is not meant for racist who are upset over his marriage to a white woman. It is not meant for racist who are upset that he cheated with white women. Its not meant for woman who hate men. Its not meant for people who are jealous and envious. Its not meant for people who hate the color of his skin. Tiger's apology is meant for people who knows what its like to make mistakes and be forgiven. Its meant for people whom he let down and people who don't condone his behavior but has always been there to support him and his family. Tiger's apology is meant for family and friends. Forget the rest, they were haters from the very beginning, and will be haters in the end. It doesn't matter what they say or how they say it. They'll just haters who aren't owed anything and who definitely can't afford to throw stones

Posted by: MILLER123 | February 19, 2010 10:34 PM

Wow. Just in-freaking-credible. I just did a search. In the past 24 hours, the Washington Post - a supposed "newspaper of record" for this increasingly ill-informed slab of continental crust - has published THIRTY-SIX PIECES on this irrelevant non-story. Thirty-six. Chiming in with an offering was virtually every Washington Post employee outside of the mailroom boy and the janitor (my apologies if I missed their blog posts amidst the din):

Eva Rodriquez, Gene Robinson, Ruth Marcus, Tom Shales, John Feinstein, Tom Boswell, Michael Wilbon, Sally Jenkins, Joel Achenbach, Lisa de Moraes, Liz Kelly, Paul Farhi, Valerie Strauss, Michael Kun, Josh Levin, Michael Cavna, Sally Quinn, Steven Levingston, Dawn Knight, Leonard Shapiro, Robert Littal, Emil Steiner, Dave Goldberg (AP) Matthew Prowler (guest), Clark Strand (guest), Bill Aiken (guest), Sarah Skidmore (AP), Doug Ferguson (AP), Anne Peterson (AP), Frazier Moore (AP), a Discussion Group, a Video, a transcript, a Poll and Dave Sheinin's original news story...

...with Howard Kurtz doing the only thing he is good at by leading the Tabloid Parade with his piece.

Meanwhile, NOT ONE ARTICLE - *ever* that I am aware of - on what has been the biggest story in Europe for WEEKS, and is about the WAR THAT WE STARTED. The Iraq War inquiry is taking place in the UK, oblivious to the consciousness of the average American (and certainly the unfortunate readers of the Post). They are holding their leaders accountable there for a war started on lies that killed a million people. The country that started it, not so much.

Could it have something to do with the media that was so shamefully complicit in rubber-stamping all the lies? Is that why we aren't hearing anything about this? Fred Hiatt afraid that if Americans see other countries owning up to their small part in that slaughter, that we might get the crazy idea WE should be doing the same with our LARGE part in it?

Might an inquiry here put the damper on future wars, which are so GOOD FOR BUSINESS in the news industry?

Naw, I'm sure it's a mere coincidence and oversight. Besides, Tiger Woods is so immportant to our lives, isn't he?

Posted by: B2O2 | February 20, 2010 2:17 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company