HARTFORD, Conn. -- Jeff Benedict watched Tiger Woods win the Masters at Cheers, where everybody knows your name but not necessarily your published works.
Benedict, who co-authored the 2018 best-seller "Tiger Woods," was vacationing with his family near Boston's Faneuil Hall as the final round neared a dramatic conclusion. Desperate to find a flat screen, he ducked into the restaurant modeled after the sitcom set.
The midday patrons were seemingly more interested in Woods' pursuit of a 15th major championship than the local basketball team's chase for an 18th NBA title, Benedict noted, and hardly suspected they were in the presence of someone uniquely invested in the story that was unfolding.
"All eyes that day were on Tiger," Benedict said. "Nobody was watching the Celtics playoff game. Nobody was watching the Red Sox. When it came down to the last couple holes, the whole bar was just completely consumed with watching him. It was a real memorable and fascinating experience to see it that way."
If all goes according to plan, Benedict will soon be responsible for putting more eyes on Woods, whose storybook win coincided with the paperback release of the book he and former 60 Minutes correspondent Armen Keteyian spent three years reporting and writing. In partnership with Wheelhouse Entertainment, the all-encompassing portrait of the golf icon will be shopped as a scripted television series.
It's the first project the production company -- launched in 2018 by entrepreneur Brett Montgomery -- will take to market. The company has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Stamford and previously partnered with late night host Jimmy Kimmel to launch Kimmelot Media, a multi-platform content company.
"As a rabid sports fan, I had seen Jeff's byline and read much of his work, always impressed by his insights and access into some pretty rarified worlds," Montgomery said in a release, "but when I picked up 'Tiger Woods' I saw what a true force Jeff really is -- and a compelling way to bring the Tiger Woods story to life as one of the most moving in sports history."
Benedict has written more than a dozen nonfiction books, including 2009's "Little Pink House," a story centered on a New London woman's Supreme Court battle over the city's use of eminent domain that was adapted into a 2017 film starring Catherine Keener. Well before that book was published, he was in talks with an editor about how to adapt it for the big screen -- a process that continues with each new subject he tackles.
"From that period on, I always think about how (a book) would translate to other mediums, whether it's television, film or documentaries," Benedict said. "Those mediums have become much more amenable to print stories because there's such a demand for content today. There are all these other vehicles thanks to everything from YouTube to Netflix to Amazon."
Benedict conceded that the rise of streaming networks and prestige TV shows likely would have changed the trajectory of "Little Pink House" had it come out today. "I would certainly be thinking about the possibility of a scripted series or a multi-part documentary film," he said. "That's just an indication really of how things have changed."
Citing the two O.J. Simpson projects that aired within months of each other in 2016 -- "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," a scripted series on the FX network and the ESPN docuseries "O.J.: Made in America" -- Benedict said there's a "proven formula" for bringing a complicated tale like Woods' to the screen.
Released at the start of Masters week, the paperback version of "Tiger Woods" includes a new closing chapter covering his victory in last year's Tour Championship, a resounding return to glory that highlighted his personal growth.
"It's very different now," Benedict said. "We got asked the question a lot last year when the book came out, about whether he's truly changed. And I think the best evidence for that is to look at how he's responded for a full year. This was going on all last year and it continued this year. It is definitely a fair and accurate statement to say he's evolved -- as a man and as a golfer."
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