Tiger Woods Book Review: The Rise And Fall Of A Legend

the rise and fall of a legend
the rise and fall of a legend

I first picked up a golf club when I was in fifth grade. I remember being at home watching TV with my dad when he turned on the 2005 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. 

At the time, I had absolutely zero interest in golf. As I was going back and forth with my dad on what show to turn on, the unthinkable happened. 

Tiger, who was dressed in his Sunday red, ended up pulling his tee shot left on the par 3 16th hole. In contention to win the Masters, his chip shot would trickle to the edge of the cup for five seconds before eventually falling into the hole. And from that point on, golf would become one of my favorite sports. 

Woods has always been my favorite golfer and is one of the main reasons why I ever picked up a golf club in the first place. When I saw his book, I knew that I wanted to read it. I wanted to know more about Tiger’s life, what made him so dominant in his prime, and ultimately, the mindset shift that led to his downfall. 

The Rise and Fall of A Legend

About The Book:

When we hear the name Tiger Woods, we think about the records that he has shattered, the injuries that he has battled, and the scandal that began his downfall. But what we don’t hear about is Tiger’s childhood, how he developed such a dominant golf game, and how he was taught to show no mercy to his competitors. 

As a kid, Tiger didn’t have a normal life. The only life that he knew was school and golf. His dad didn’t allow him to play other sports, nor was he allowed to play at recess, and having friends over on the weekends was out of the question. Tiger’s purpose in life was golf, and it was to win. 

Tiger’s parents instilled in him at a very early age that he was untouchable. No competitor would be mentally stronger than he was, he had never been disciplined, and his parents would do whatever was required to give Tiger the opportunity to succeed – even if that meant breaking the rules. 

Earl Woods, who was Tiger’s father, was a master of breaking the rules. He would find a way for his son to get taught by the best golf professionals in the area while also getting a free membership to the Navy course. When it came time to compete in tournaments, Tiger’s mom, Kultida, would take Tiger while Earl worked. 

As Tiger grew older and started to get more recognition for his talents, Earl would find a way to quit his job and become a “Talent Scout” for the company that would soon represent Tiger. In exchange, Earl would be paid $50,000 per year, just the amount needed for Tiger to compete, to travel, and for equipment. 

During his teenage years, Tiger became unstoppable. Nobody in the U.S. or even the world was able to beat him. He would capture three consecutive U.S. Amateur Championships, the most by any player.

Tigers dominance carried into his college career at Stanford. He would gain twenty pounds of muscle by having unlimited access to all of the school’s sports facilities. Not long after, Tiger was averaging 320 yards off the tee with his driver. 

He would be Stanford’s most renown golfer for the two years that he was there. But after being pressured by his father to turn professional, the time finally came where Tiger would take his talents to the PGA Tour. 

TV ratings had never been higher when Tiger turned pro. Crowds would start to gather at tournaments, prize pools were starting to increase, and the image of golf was changing. Tiger would become sponsored by brands such as Nike, American Express, Gatorade, and EA Sports. His endorsement deals would have him making more than Michael Jordan. 

The money and fame quickly got to Tiger. He would start spending his weekends in Vegas and would become a familiar face at the casino. It was reported that he would often spend in excess of $100,000 per weekend. 

But gambling wasn’t the only addiction he would encounter. As a 21-year-old professional athlete, Tiger was lonely. He was taught that he was untouchable and that he would just take whatever he wanted, and this included women. Tiger would have a VIP table in every bar that he went to, and if a girl caught his eye, he would have somebody go up to the girl for him and invite him over to the table. 

This still didn’t stop Tiger from getting married and having children. But all throughout his relationship with Elin Nordgren, Tiger had been unfaithful and had cheated on her in what is said to be more than 120 different occasions.

While Tiger was living the life of a bachelor, so too was his father. All throughout Tiger’s childhood Earl had been unfaithful to Kultida. As soon as Tiger turned pro, he bought his mother a house and gave his father a $100,000 American Express credit card that was ready to be replenished at any time. Earl used this card for cigarettes, alcohol, and women. Women were constantly coming and going from Tiger’s childhood house. Whenever Earl wanted, he would have someone over at his house to service his every need. 

Earl is the one who trained Tiger to become mentally stronger than any opponent he faced. He was the one who taught Tiger to take whatever he wanted, that he was better than everybody else, and that he was untouchable. Once Tiger reached a certain level of dominance, Earl would start to show his true colors – that he had used his sone as a cash cow to achieve the life that he was never able to achieve – one of fame and luxury. 

My Thoughts:

Tiger has always been my favorite golfer, but in no way do I agree with his life choices and how unfaithful he was to his family. At the same time, though, Tiger was an addict. While he knew better, he had never been disciplined for his actions before and was taught that he was untouchable. This mentality came from both his mother and father. 

The way I see it, Tiger was abused. He was never given the life of a normal child, was never taught what was right and wrong, and was used as a tool to help his parents achieve their end goal. Proof of that would be when Tiger reached the PGA Tour, his father and he would rarely talk. Somebody who he once called his best friend was no longer by his side every shot he took. 

Maybe Tiger breaks Jack Nicklaus’s major record, or maybe he doesn’t. Either way, Tiger is one of the best athletes to ever compete and is, in my opinion, the best golfer to ever live. 

If you are an avid golf fan, I would highly recommend you read this book. It will take you inside the mind of Tiger Woods, inside the life that he lived, and into the cause of his downfall. Being the golf enthusiast that I am, it was well worth it to read these 400 pages.

Michael Bonnell

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