During the winter of 2008, sitcom writer Bob Smiley decided to join his fellow writers and walk the picket line in support of the Writers Guild of America. But unlike most of his compatriots, he decided to figure out how to get his dream job during his sojourn from Hollowood. A golf junkie since boyhood, Smiley reached out to ESPN and got a freelance gig writing golf humor columns from the point of view of the average 18+ handicapper. When he realized the writers' strike was going to last longer than he'd anticipated, he decided to attempt a feat many sports fans fantasize about: to follow Tiger Woods from the gallery for every hole of an entire season.
So with a wife and two small children at home, Smiley hit the PGA trail, traveling on the cheap for months on end. His poignant and, at times, hilarious adventures took him from San Diego to the deserts of Dubai, through the gates of Augusta National, and to, arguably, the greatest U.S. Open of all time at Torrey Pines, where in June of 2008 Tiger defeated the opposition on only one leg. (His other one was debilitated by a torn ACL and fractured tibia.)
Following his inspiring victory at the U.S. Open, Tiger announced that he was going straight into surgery and would sit out the rest of the 2008 season. Although this turn of events eliminated the possibility of a Grand Slam (winning all four Majors in a single calandar year), Tiger's strength and courage in the face of golf mortality add a whole new dimension to his story -- and to Smiley's.
In addition to the thrill of witnessing all 604 of the holes Woods played in '08, Smiley found in Tiger both a source of inspiration and the gutsy embodiment of what it really means to be an athlete -- and a man.