Cover Image: The Second Life of Tiger Woods

The Second Life of Tiger Woods

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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. I have always been a fan of Tiger Woods and while this book had some excellent information, I am concerned that Tiger himself was never interviewed or spoken to, so I'm not sure what to believe.
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Tiger Woods is probably the most famous sportsman in the world. His fall from grace was one of the most watched, talked about and written about stories in sports.

From his car crash in 2009 which unleashed the floodgates, he continued to struggle until he hit a nadir on Memorial Day in 2017. Fresh from yet more spinal surgery, Woods was arrested for driving under the influence. It seemed inevitable that Woods’ life as a golfer was as good as over. How wrong that assumption proved to be.

In The Second Life of Tiger Woods, GOLF magazine senior writer, Michael Bamberger, draws upon his extensive contact book to document Woods fall from grace and subsequent triumphant return to win the 2019 Masters.

While the narrative jumps back and forward in time quite often, the main focus of the book is on the most recent few years of Woods’ life. Those who have followed Tiger’s closely will know a lot of what is written about his early years. The book is at its strongest when its detailing the incident around his DUI and his subsequent return to glory.

The book does take two remarkably long digressions on whether Woods had gotten away with rules infractions in breach of the spirit of the game and the difficult to cover question of performance-enhancing drugs. The rules infractions material is a overdone especially as I don’t buy into the sanctimonious “meaning of golf” stuff. It’s a game and all games have cheaters.

The material on PEDs is by necessity circumstantial. Bamberger investigates rumours and draws a connection between Woods and the people who helped Alex Rodriquez to dope. It’s hardly a smoking gun but its admirable that the book tried to cover a topic often left untouched.

The meat of the book is Tiger’s redemption story. It’s a story of overcoming injuries and personal struggles, of maturing and becoming a more rounded person both in and outside of work. Bamberger is wisely cautious though to warn that no one really knows Woods and we should be careful of too easily believing he is a changed man.

Bamberger has a fairly unique and colourful writing style and the book is often times a vehicle for his wit and insight as much as reporting of Woods’ life. This is understandable given Tiger didn’t agree to be interviewed for the book so it does unfortunately lack Tiger’s own perspective. I do think the book needed a tighter edit though with the quality writing and insight getting lost at times.

All in all its an entertaining and interesting addition to the ever growing library of books on Tiger Woods
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For fans of Tiger Woods or those who were shocked by his downfall you will be fascinated by this well written expose.So many unknown details an insiders look at golf tournaments. We see Tiger come back play well again.A book golfing fans will really enjoy.#netgalley#avidpress
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They say cats have nine lives but Tiger is the kind of cat that makes his two so full of drama, pathos and ecstasy that any more and we'd faint from exhaustion. Michael Bamberger is a fine writer and extremely knowledgeable about the game sometimes called "a good walk, spoiled." He provides excellent insight into why Woods is arguably the greatest ever but also an athlete who inspires both love and loathing among his peers and the press. In some way Woods is a bit like Lance Armstrong -- or was -- but the new Tiger, the rebuilt, more humble, friendly cat is doing more purring than clawing these days. I particularly enjoyed Bamberger's depiction of Augusta National and The Masters, a hallowed place where the old ways are the only ways. Also, the portraits of Ncklaus and Woods, two different personalities with a shared trait: knowing how to grab a tournament by the throat. We have waited for Woods" successor. First it was McIlroy, then Spieth and now Koepka. To paraphrase Muhammad Ali, if any of them dreamed they were as good as Tiger they'd wake up and apologize.
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One aspect of the manner in which America views its celebrities is that everyone loves a great comeback story.  When Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters golf tournament, that was one more celebrity comeback that was well-celebrated by Americans, whether they were golf fans or not. This is especially true as Woods is one of those athletes who transcends his or her sport.  This balanced and interesting look at Tiger Woods since 2017 written by veteran sportswriter Michael Bamberger is a fascinating look at the “comeback” of Woods.

Bamberger uses the incident on Memorial Day 2017 when Woods was parked on the road near his home in Jupiter, Florida and he was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence.  In stark contrast to the usual combative, competitive and aloof nature Woods usually displays, Bamberger writes of a man who knows he was having troubles in life.  He was very cooperative with police, was not jailed and was given the usual fines and mandatory rehab assignments that any person would receive as a first time offender.  Just that part of the book, which was the beginning, will grab the reader’s attention as it will show that this book will deal with Tiger Woods the man as much as Tiger Woods the golfer or Tiger Woods the celebrity.  

Tiger Woods the golfer is certainly covered in this book. It does not cover each of his fifteen major tournament victories or cover his career in a chronological manner, but throughout the book, readers will get a lot of information on certain aspects of his game (Bamberger writes about how good Woods hits his iron shots), the mentality of Tiger during a round and of course his championships, from the US Amateur titles in the mid-1990’s to the 2019 Masters.  One quote about his mental toughness on the course caught my attention on how Woods’ character helped his golf:  “He was coldhearted. He had me-me-me in his bones. Whatever character defects he might have had, they were useful on Sunday afternoons.”

The “character defects” are not a major part of the book as while Bamberger certainly writes much about Woods away from the course, he does so in a fair and balanced manner.  The book doesn’t treat Woods as a deity, but it is far from a character assassination as many aspects of Woods’ life is explored.  There isn’t a lot about his failed marriage and the subsequent revelations about his sex life as that occurred prior to the DUI charges.  The most interesting aspect discussed here, and with a very fair and open agenda, is the possibility of Woods using performance enhancement drugs and that he possibly obtained them from the same people who supplied them to Alex Rodriguez, a friend of Woods. The author did interview Tony Bosch on this topic to obtain more information, but there is no specific transaction, no “smoking gun” to prove or disprove this theory.

The final act in the book (the chapters are divided into Acts) talks mostly about the 2019 Masters, but also the transformation of Woods’ personality and his accessibility. Bamberger talks about how Woods now will talk highly about young and upcoming players, how he enjoys the Championship Dinner for all living Masters champions much more than previously and his humility during his speech when accepting a recent award from a golf writers association. This illustrates what makes this book as interesting as its subject – there are so many parts to Woods that make up the complete person he is and this book covers them all in an excellent manner.  

I wish to thank Avid Reader Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was quite underwhelming and largely a waste of my time. The author's voice is corny in an off=putting, "I'm out of touch, get off my lawn" way. He neither performs a satisfying exercise in myth-building or a cynical takedown of a dumb American institution. It feels like a human interest piece stretched out into a book that was in desperate need of a great editor to shape it.
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I had heard of Tiger Woods, of course, but I know nothing about golf.  I wanted to read this book because of the courage he had to have to pick himself up, face the world and move forward in his life.  I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster for an honest review. 
I was impressed with the author and the way he told Tiger Woods story.  I felt like he was honest and didn't sensationalize the story.  The golfers are going to love this book because they love golf and this story has so much history of the Masters and the different aspects of golf.
For others, who make mistakes, they are going to realize that you can overcome your mistakes and move forward in your life.  It isn't easy but it will help you knowing someone else that has had to pick themself up and go on.  
The author wrote the book so you could feel what Tiger was going through, from the lowest of the low to the excitement of his comeback and the win.  
I definitely enjoyed reading this book, I learned a lot and came away with a better understanding of all he went through.
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Michael Bamberger has done a wonderful job chronicling the more recent history of Tiger Woods. The Second Life Of Tiger Woods is well written and compelling.  Those who have followed Tiger for years know a lot of what is written about the early years. For those who don’t,  the first part of the book is a succinct summation of how he got to the successes and the hitting bottom in his life. 
  An easy read, you will probably come away with a different view of Tiger from what you knew. 
 I will buy some copies for friends. 
  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy for review purposes.
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The first thing I want to make clear is that this book is very accessible to non-golfers. I know exactly zero things about how to golf and I needed no golf knowledge to both read and enjoy this title. And I did, very much enjoy the book. Even from the start the story, which begins with Tiger's rock bottom DUI arrest, Bamberger draws you in to the story of Tiger and his world. By the time you have left the first chapter you are already actively cheering for Tiger. The final redemption win of Tiger Woods has you on your seat's edge even when you already know what the outcome will be. It's a real testament to Bamberger's breezy and wonderful writing. 

Also, if you like (as cringy as it sounds) celebrity gossip I would also recommend this book. It has a very "behind the palace walls" feel to it. Which fits, as Tiger has been the prince of golf since he golfed at age 4 on the Mike Burnett show. The details in "The Second Life of Tiger Woods" are well researched and clearly the author has several inside sources. I found the author (and Tiger) to be affable and interesting. My ARC asked that I not quote from the book but I wish I could. Tiger's quotes are funny and insightful as are the author's commentary throughout

This is an fantastic piece of sport's writing and is sure to add to the golf zeitgeist. Sports-writing is awesome and this is a fine example of it; probably one of the best of 2020.
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It is hard to get close to a sporting icon who always surrounds himself with an entourage yet Michael Bamberger has managed to do so.

He is a gifted and experienced sports writer who is himself well connected within the golfing fraternity and he uses his contacts to create a vivid portrait of how Tiger Woods fell from grace and then slowly but surely redeemed himself and won The Masters last year.

Bamberger probes far and wide and comes up with gold dust, providing an insider's account of Woods's appalling sexual misconduct and being stopped by the side of the road by his local police force when in a befuddled state. He investigates rumours if whether he has taken performance enhancing pills and most interestingly of all, shows how other pro's on the circuit feel about Woods.

I leaned so much and was also thoroughly entertained.

I admire Woods but do I like him - well that is another story!
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This reads like a magazine piece fluffed for book length. The kind of gross section in the middle accusing but totally not accusing because I don't have any proof just an interview with a dirtbag about Tiger using PED's is some insanely irresponsible journalism, Between that section, the hole by hole recap of a round surely anyone who is reading this book has already watched themselves and the constant repetition of generally unimportant information make this really a very poor package. Strip all of that that and it's a great piece in the New Yorker.
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