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Courtesy: Simon & Schuster

Tiger Woods is many things — fierce competitor, 15-time major champion, international celebrity — but more than anything, he's a person, just like you and me.

Why it matters: Discovering who that person is takes more than watching him play, though, which is why Golf Magazine senior writer Michael Bamberger wrote his new book, "The Second Life of Tiger Woods."

I spoke with Michael yesterday to learn more about why he wrote the book, and why he finds Tiger to be such a fascinating case study.

JT: When did you first realize this was a book worth writing?

"When Tiger came back in 2018 after the Memorial Day arrest in May of 2017, he seemed, not a changed person — I've been hearing people using that a lot — but a person who was changing; a person who was making an effort in ways he hadn't before.
"So in August of 2018, I called my editor and said, 'I don't know what Tiger's doing, but it's different, he's different, he's changing ... and I think there's a book here.'"

JT: Winning the Masters last year must have been an incredible development for you. How'd you incorporate that into the narrative?

"I was actually rooting for Francesco Molinari for a number of reasons, one of which is, I like the guy. But also, knowing I was writing a book about Tiger Woods, I just thought losing — but getting close — would reveal more about his character than winning. And I would be real interested to see how he handles that.
"The book takes a deep, deep analysis of what Tiger did to win: When he got lucky, who said what to whom, what Finau saw, what Molinari saw, what Joe LaCava, his caddie, did. Trying to really — y'know, more than TV ever could — take a look at the shots he played and how he did it."

JT: What was your biggest takeaway about Tiger, the man, after you finished writing the book?

"In '95, when I first saw him, he was a dead, stone, killer. 'You're in my way. Move.' That was his attitude as a professional golfer. No one ever had that attitude prior to him.
"Then came Memorial Day 2017, and he emerged out of that as a person who was — to use a highfalutin, modern phrase — 'on some kind of empathy journey.' Someone who had developed a deep sense of gratitude.
"That's why the life and times of Tiger Woods really should be meaningful to the rest of us. We're not gonna play golf that well and we're not gonna have his level of fame or pressure, but wherever you are in your life, you can make a change."

Go deeper: Golf becomes a rare athletic escape in the age of the coronavirus

Go deeper

51 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.