At the conclusion of part 1 of the Tiger Woods HBO documentary, “Tiger,” we watch as Woods wins the 2006 Open Championship, marking the first major win for Woods after the death of his father Earl.
Emotion overtakes Woods as he cries in the arms of his caddie Steve Williams and then his wife Elin Nordegren. It has all the makings of a storybook ending for an athlete who to the public is everything his father wanted him to be: an inspiration that transcends sports.
But as Tiger and Nordegren embrace, the picture cuts to a shot with a grey background and a woman entering the frame sitting down in a chair.
It’s Rachel Uchitel. The mistress of Tiger Woods.
“Okay, so what do you want me to talk about?” she asks to the camera as part 1 of “Tiger” ends.
It sets the stage for an explosive part 2 of the documentary in which all of Woods’ demons come out and destroys his public image.
To land Uchitel’s first-ever in-depth interview took a lot of conversations between her and the filmmakers before production began, “Tiger” co-director Matthew Hamachek told Insider. Noting that it all came down to trust.
“We met with her for lunch, and Rachel felt strongly that nobody had ever told her side of the story; that the media had taken her and turned her into a caricature,” said Hamachek, who co-directed the movie with Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land”).
Over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009, the world was shocked when news came out that Woods was in a car accident just outside his Florida mansion. Soon after, a slew of women went public about their affairs with Woods over the years, but Uchitel, a New York City night club manager, stood out as the tabloids reported that she was the one who broke up Woods’ marriage.
“What she really wanted was to make sure she had a platform to tell her side,” Hamachek said about the discussions he had with Uchitel about participating in the documentary.
A couple of months of back-and-forth discussions led to her doing a close to eight hour interview for “Tiger,” the first one done for the documentary.
“It was a marathon,” Hamachek said. “We talked about everything. She really does tell her entire story of meeting Tiger up through what happened the night that their relationship came to an end.”
In an interview on “Extra” before part 1 of the documentary aired Sunday, Uchitel said the last decade has been “a living hell” for her.
“I wanted to tell my story on HBO because I wanted people to see what really happened,” she said. “I was not a mistress, and I was in a real relationship, and I want people to leave me alone about it. I made a bad decision. And I regret it, and I’m embarrassed about it and … my apology is to two people, not the world, two people.”
A good chunk of part 2 of “Tiger” is dedicated to Uchitel and Woods’ fling, as well as other things that led to his fall from grace, including injuries, his divorce from Nordegren, and a dependency to drugs and alcohol that led to a 2017 arrest for driving under the influence.
Hamachek said he felt it was important to have Uchitel in the movie because it gives an added layer to Woods’ story.
“What I really wanted to do was paint a portrait of his life from the people who knew him best and hopefully to bring a bit of empathy to his story,” he said. “That’s what the people who talked to us helped us do.”
“There were tons of salacious details we could have gotten into,” Hamachek continued, “but we wanted to get to the heart of who this guy is and why all this happened to him.”
Part 1 of “Tiger” is available now on HBO Max, part 2 airs on HBO and HBO Max on January 17.
SEE ALSO: HBO’s explosive Tiger Woods documentary features interviews from people who know the golfing legend best including his former mistress— Here’s how the directors got them to talk
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