Tiger Woods is one of the most famous sportsmen to ever live and arguably the greatest golfer ever. His achievements speak for themselves. 15 major championships, 82 PGA Tour wins and hundreds of millions in prize money.
He almost single-handily turned the game of golf from a sport that was viewed as stuffy and old-fashioned into the sport it is today. He helped make gold mainstream, In terms of his crossover appeal with the general public, only Michael Jordan comes close.
Despite all these achievements, Tiger Woods had his fair share of problems. He cheated on his wife multiple times, had issues with painkillers and suffered from several injuries during his career.
He’s a complicated character that has lived an existence few of us will ever experience. All of this I knew before I read this fascinating biography. After reading it, I was even more flabbergasted by some of the stuff that happened in his life.
Winning a major championship with a broken leg was an incredible feat, while Woods’ was sleeping with multiple women at once and keeping this a secret from his wife. He was living a double life.
The most successful golfer on the planet and a serial cheater of it. This biography takes an in-depth look at his life and offers reasons for why it turned out the way it did.
Even if you don’t like golf, it’s a gripping read and one that will give you an insight into what it’s like to be at the top of your game in a sport watched by millions around the globe.
Table of Contents
Tiger Woods book summary
Takeaway 1 – Tiger had a phenomenal will to win
One of the things you take away from reading this book is just how much Tiger wanted to win. The lengths he went to were incredible.
A case in point is when he won the Masters in 1997. The Masters is one of four tournaments considered a major that form a part of the Grand Slam.
It was his first major championship as a professional and he won by 12 strokes to become the youngest winner in the history of the tournament. Most people would be satisfied with us but not Woods.
He felt his swing and flaws and he wanted to fix those flaws. He decided to remodel his swing after his record-breaking victory despite the fact it might impact his ability to win in the immediate future.
The plan worked. Woods was the dominant player on the Tour in the early 2000s and won all four majors in succession from the 2000 U.S. Open to the 2001 Masters.
Another example of his determination to win at all costs was when he won the 2008 US Open one leg. He went into the tournament with a broken tibia and an almost non-existent ACL due to the accumulation of wear and tear during his career.
Most people wouldn’t have entered the tournament let alone win it in those circumstances. It’s hard to fathom how he was able to do so.
The biography goes into detail on how Woods was so singularly focused on winning that it took up most of his time. He didn’t just want to win, he wanted to dominate his opponents.
Something he did time and time again on the golf course.
Takeaway 2 – His upbringing may have been a cause of his future issues
Tiger Woods did not have a normal upbringing. From a young age, he was thrust into the spotlight by his father. He appeared on multiple TV shows showcasing his talent.
He would spend hours and hours practising his golf at the expense of forming friends at school. The biography highlights that he rarely took part in team sports such as football, instead he practised golf after school.
His insular childhood meant he didn’t develop the social skills that most of us learn when we’re young. This would impact Tiger in the future as he struggled to make friends and trust people.
Another element of his childhood that had a lasting impact on his life was that he was protected by his parents. They would organise everything for him, look after him and constantly tell him he was destined to be great.
While they were right about the last part, this had consequences later in life. So used was Tiger to getting his own way and having things taken care of that he rarely upheld social conventions.
Things like saying hello to people and thanking them for their time were rarely said. A prime example is when he was saying with his friend Mark O’Meara at the Masters in a rented home.
When the owner of the house came back for a brief period and was shocked to see Tiger in her house, she introduced herself only for him to ignore her.
It was this sort of social etiquette that Tiger lacked. While it didn’t affect his golf game and may have helped it, it didn’t help him form close bonds off the golf course.
Takeaway 3 – Celebrity/supreme talent is a pressure most of us will never understand
It’s hard to underscore just how famous Tiger is and how popular he was at the height of his fame.
I remember going to the 2006 Open championship, which was held near to where I lived in England. Woods won the tournament and me and a few friends went along on the second day of the competition.
When we arrived Tiger was playing on one of the nearby holes and there were people everywhere. It’s hard to describe just how many people there were but there were at least seven rows of people following him around.
No other player on the course received the same level of attention. We had to stop following him along the course at one point due to the sheer number of people.
If you mention golf, almost everyone will be able to associate the sport with Tiger Woods. There are very few people that have this crossover into general culture. Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo are a few that spring to mind.
Woods transcended his sport and propelled it into the mainstream. He was the most famous sportsman on the planet at one time.
His level of fame was at a level most sports stars never reach. It’s easy to be critical of his life, and there are areas where it’s right to do so. His infidelity for one, but it’s hard to contemplate being in his shoes.
This was a man that was so wealthy and famous that he could have anything and anyone that he wanted. He had grown up being used to the world revolving around him and that continued into later life.
Most of us will never experience this level of fame. We will never experience the benefits and the numerous downsides that come with it.
His fame goes a long way to explaining why he erred but it doesn’t excuse his actions.
- “Tiger’s inability to show gratitude, apologise, or express appreciation was rooted in his warped upbringing. His mother pampered him like a prince, and his father rarely uttered the words thank you or I’m sorry. Tiger learned early and often that his needs were all that mattered. His unapologetically self-centred attitude was critical to his success in golf, but it had an utterly devastating impact on the way people perceived him.”
- “People didn’t really care what Tiger had to say about social issues or whether he considered himself black or Asian or Cblinasian. His athletic dominance was every bit as entertaining as Babe Ruth’s had been in the twenties. Every time Tiger had a club in his hands, audiences were riveted. They expected something magical to happen, and more often than not, it did. That was all that really mattered.”
- “One of the things that Tiger had always liked about being a golfer was that it was so compatible with his personality, requiring him to spend countless hours in solitude on the practice range and the practice green.”
- “Tiger started working on his craft much earlier than Gates or McCartney or Lennon. When he was six months old, barely old enough to sit up, he spent countless hours strapped in a high chair, watching his father practice his swing. By the time he was two, according to Earl, Tiger was spending two hours per day hitting golf balls.”
Tiger Woods Book Review
This Tiger Woods book summary has looked at the fascinating story of the rise and fall from grace of one of the most recognisable figures of recent times.
Tiger woods was the most dominant person in sports at one point. The sight of him climbing up the leaderboard at major golf tournaments was enough to scare his competitors.
He played majestically, but he also intimidated his opponents. The root of that dominance and fear factor is explained in detail in this gripping biography.
The book reads almost like a Greek tragedy. We see Tiger’s rise to the top which is choreographed with military-like precision. It’s this bizarre life that he lived during his early years that contributed to his downfall.
The success, the adulation and the love of his wife are not enough to stop Tiger from seeking out vices. In the end, he couldn’t help himself and his actions destroyed the clean-cut image he had built for himself over the years.
It may not be The Odyssey, but this biography will give you an insight into the life out of outliers. Those who are at the top of their game and inhabit a different reality from the rest of us.
This is a moral biography and one that is worth reading for the lessons you can draw from it.
Who Should Read The Tiger Woods Biography?
Lovers of sport and golf, in particular, will enjoy this read. It’s a fascinating insight into the life of one of the most famous people in sports ever.
Anyone looking for a general overview of Tiger’s life will be rewarded by reading this book. It provides a lot of detail that I wasn’t aware of before and I’m a fan of golf!