×

The Tiger Woods Story

The Tiger Woods Story" is pretty much everything we'd expect from a biography made about an athlete who is barely old enough to drink. It uses the golf club as a paint-by-numbers brush to depict the youthful golf legend of the title as a sensitive, single-minded talent whose most valuable driver isn't in his golf bag but is half-bagged, period: his chain-smoking, beer-swigging, overbearing daddy Earl. Oddly enough, it's not an especially unflattering portrayal of either man, since the film lacks the illumination to be truly negative.

With:
Earl Woods...............Keith David Tiger Woods (age 14+)....Khalil Kain Tida Woods............Freda Foh Shen Tiger (age 9-13)....Gary Le'roi Gray Tiger (age 3-5)............T.J. Hall Jerry Chang.................John Cho Holly.............Kathryn Dora Brown Hank Aaron...............Albert Hall Announcer #1...........Roger Twibell Announcer #2..........John Schroeder

The Tiger Woods Story” is pretty much everything we’d expect from a biography made about an athlete who is barely old enough to drink. It uses the golf club as a paint-by-numbers brush to depict the youthful golf legend of the title as a sensitive, single-minded talent whose most valuable driver isn’t in his golf bag but is half-bagged, period: his chain-smoking, beer-swigging, overbearing daddy Earl. Oddly enough, it’s not an especially unflattering portrayal of either man, since the film lacks the illumination to be truly negative.

This unauthorized biopic, made under the “Showtime Original Pictures for Kids” banner, seems to be imparting the message to kids that they too can be a golf prodigy collecting championships and raking in $100 million in endorsements by the age of 21 if they have a military-trained disciplinarian for a father, a demure-but-strong Asian-American mother and the determination to overcome the ignorance and prejudice that comes with being caught between two racial/ethnic groups.

C’mon, kids, let’s get out there and hit those links!

Based on the book “Tiger” by journalist John Strege and directed by LeVar Burton in his TV-movie helming debut (Woods was all of a year old when Burton was starring in “Roots”), the film finds Burton actually coaxing some surprisingly strong performances from Keith David as the hulking Earl, Khalil Kain as the adolescent and adult Tiger and T.I. Hall as the very young (ages 3-5) golfing phenom who is shown hustling a club pro at the age of 3.

But try as Burton might to keep “The Tiger Woods Story” centered and vital, it’s undone by a Takashi A. Bufford script that’s all over the map, flashing back to Woods’ spectacularly dominant Masters performance and then whipping back and forth through the various events in his childhood and teenhood like a tot in desperate need of Ritalin.

The project is also, frankly, mislabeled. It is perhaps more “The Earl Woods Story” than that of “Tiger” as the teleplay centers its focus on Earl’s frequent lectures and his platitude-spouting, which come from a need that we are led to believe somehow sprouted from his military training.

Tiger, meanwhile, is portrayed as a kid whose superstar talent was called up almost effortlessly and who took the racism in his midst pretty much in stride. That, we’re told, was due to the spiritual influence of his Thai-born mother Tida (Freda Foh Shen), who is reduced here to a series of disapproving looks and phrases (“Eat your broccoli!”) and Eastern Philosophy blather.

As for those raging Tiger hormones, well, let’s just say that he apparently hasn’t been scoring quite as many eagles with the ladies.

Frustrated Girlfriend: “I’m second to golf, second to economics, second to calculus — and now I’m second to Arnold Palmer!” Yeah, well, Arnie’s cuter.

“The Tiger Woods Story” is a tepid, if noble, attempt to wring drama from the tale of one of the great pure athletes of our time. Unfortunately, Tiger is a little young for the bio treatment, and it shows. Thirty years from now, this guy’s story will probably make one helluva flick. This ain’t it.

Tech credits are solid.

The Tiger Woods Story

Showtime; Sun. April 12, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in San Diego by Showtime Networks and MTV Prods. in association with Paramount Network TV. Executive producers, Ken Mok, Dawn Parouse; producer, Jerry Goldman; director, LeVar Burton; writer, Takashi A. Bufford; based on the book "Tiger" by John Strege

Crew: Camera, Frank Byers; editor, Tom Walls; music, Camara Kambon; production designer, Bruce Buchner; art director, John Josselyn; sound, Peter Halbert; casting, Ellie Kanner. 90 MIN.

With: Earl Woods...............Keith David Tiger Woods (age 14+)....Khalil Kain Tida Woods............Freda Foh Shen Tiger (age 9-13)....Gary Le'roi Gray Tiger (age 3-5)............T.J. Hall Jerry Chang.................John Cho Holly.............Kathryn Dora Brown Hank Aaron...............Albert Hall Announcer #1...........Roger Twibell Announcer #2..........John Schroedercamera, Frank Byers; editor, Tom Walls; music, Camara Kambon; production designer, Bruce Buchner; art director, John Josselyn; sound, Peter Halbert; casting, Ellie Kanner. 90 MIN.

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy to Star in 'Louis Wain'

    Benedict Cumberbatch (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) are set to star in “Louis Wain,” a biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century. “Louis Wain” will start shooting on Aug. 10 with BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (“Flowers”) directing the film, which was written by Sharpe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content