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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

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

8 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.