This was another one of my son Preston's book selections. He had to read a biography/memoir for his English class. Who else would he select but the greatest of all time in the sport he intends to turn into a lifelong career. He was well aware of Tiger's athletic accomplishments and had heard of some of his scandals, but this book was eye opening for him.
The book starts out with a look at what it was like for a young Tiger Woods. He was smart and did well in school, but he did not have the freedom or opportunity to be a kid. He wanted to play soccer and participate in other school activities, but his father was laser focused on his golf game. From the age of four, his dad was already showing off Tiger's skills and trying to cash in on his son's talent. They did not have the money to join a country club and pay for top notch coaching, but he put in the time and worked harder than anybody else. He was driven and set a goal for himself to be the youngest player to achieve every milestone within the game. He became the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur, the U.S. Amateur, the Masters, and the youngest to complete the Grand Slam.
We can see what it took for him to reach the pinnacle of success, but we also see the downsides of his fame. He had no privacy and could no longer live a "normal" life. Even people like Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth can still live normal lives. For example, on the Netflix series Full Swing we follow Justin Thomas into a drug store when he was under the weather at a tournament. Even with a camera following him, nobody bothered him while he was shopping. Doing something like that was out of the question for Tiger. He was so recognizable and had reached a level of celebrity far beyond the golfing world, that it was next to impossible for him to do anything without drawing a crowd and needing security.
His extreme wealth, connections, and lack of a good role model led Tiger to make some poor decisions. His actions off the golf course destroyed his family and jeopardized everything he worked for his entire life. This book does not hold back when it comes to any of his personal struggles and was very enlightening for Preston. As a student athlete, we place our idols on a pedestal and aspire to be them. In this case, Preston can see that he is human. While he had endless amounts of talents and is undisputedly the greatest of all time, he made mistakes along the way. Hopefully, he has learned from them and is a better person because of it. That is all you can hope for.
Overall, this was an excellent biography. I felt like it portrayed a very realistic picture of who Tiger is without trying to sugar coat or sensationalize things. It presented the information gathered, good or bad, and let the reader decide how they wanted to process that knowledge. The authors didn't pass judgement and I don't think the reader should either. You never know what someone is going through unless you are in their shoes. While I do not condone some of his actions, I think we can all benefit from his work ethic and dedication.