Tiger Woods has been under tremendous scrutiny ever since his sexual indiscretions were exposed in 2009. In their book, The Swinger, authors Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck write of a fictional character that leads a life eerily similar to Tiger’s. Bill Littlefield talks to Bamberger and Shipnuck about the inspiration behind their novel, and their decision to riff on Tiger’s story.

Bill Littlefield’s thoughts on The Swinger:

The first clue that there’s something curious afoot with The Swinger is apparent on the cover of the novel. The words “a novel,” which frequently appear on the cover of books of fiction, are almost too small to read.

The particulars of “Tree” Tremont, the protagonist of The Swinger, are essentially the same as those of one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. Both are racially mixed, and each is a terrific golfer who has married a beautiful woman and fathered two lovely children while embarking on a series of magnificently reckless sexual adventures with many untrustworthy partners. Each is certain that his iconic status will somehow protect him from exposure as a self-indulgent fraud, and in this respect both are wrong. Each has a father who tells everybody that his son will have a greater influence on civilization than did Jesus.

Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck, the two Sports Illustrated writers who wrote The Swinger, have said they hope Tiger Woods reads their book, because they feel they have been sympathetic to him. It can be argued that a more sympathetic stance toward Tiger Woods would have been to let him alone, but publishers don’t pay writers advances for letting people alone.

Bamberger and Shipnuck did spin for Tree/Woods a happy ending, but that may not predispose Tiger Woods Enterprises in their favor. Accordingly, I asked the authors, who regularly cover the PGA Tour, if they were concerned that Tiger might not talk to them if he returned to the top of the golf heap. They maintained that since he had never talked to them much before his life became fodder for a rollicking roller-coaster of a novel, they wouldn’t notice any change.