HBO’s Tiger highlights curious white space at the heart of golfer’s life

New documentary is a portrait of a man whose unwillingness to speak out on race may be a form of self-protection

The black Mercedes sedan had two blown tires when police found it idling with its brake lights bright and blinker flashing on the side of an empty six-lane road at 2am. When police happened upon the scene, the man at the wheel was asleep. To hear him slur his words as officers asked where he was going and where he had been, he might well have been somewhere on the fifth planet from the sun and not in the bedroom community that is Jupiter, Florida. And when he added that, no, he had not been drinking, an officer couldn’t help but wonder, “Are you sure?”

Things only got worse once the man – zonked out on prescription drugs, as it happened – staggered his 6ft frame out of the car and on to the cool blacktop, a rippling vision of Florida Man chic in long sleeves, shorts and bare feet. He couldn’t keep his hand down tracking a light beam, couldn’t heel-toe a straight line, couldn’t recite the alphabet because he thought he was being asked “to sing the national anthem backwards.” When the officer asked if he had anything prickly on his person, the man, after an initial denial, confessed to “a few screws in the body” – mementoes from surgeries on his left knee and back. The entire incident goes down in about 20 minutes, maybe less. And as police cam B-roll goes, bless, it’s fairly G-rated. It’s only after the mind races to connect it to the more grisly police videos that have filled our timelines over the past six or so years, and this summer in particular, does this clip from Jupiter leave you breathless. That’s when you realize that, really, could have been the last we ever saw of Tiger Woods.

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