I have always enjoyed Michael Bamberger’s articles and musings in GOLF magazine and Golf.com. His writing and opinions are succinct and flavored with a good sense of humor. I had not been aware of this publication until I discovered it at my favorite discount book store in downtown Toronto.
The typical book written about Tiger Woods includes many of the oft-told tales of his prodigious childhood with father Earl as a key figure. Each author would describe Earl’s proclivities on a sliding scale if you will. We all know by now about his drinking, smoking, womanizing, and boasting. Some have described scenes in his life and his relationship with his son that are rather hard to believe. Earl plays a role in Bamberger’s book but it is not overwrought. He identifies some of his traits – good and bad – but for the most part, his inclusion in this story is mostly about how his presence in his son’s life may have informed some of Tiger’s actions since Thanksgiving day, 2009. That – according to Bamberger’s narrative – is when the Second Life of Tiger Woods began.
Bamberger spends time discussing two parts of Tigers’ “Second Life” that have certainly been covered by others but have not been overly dissected. The first involves his alleged rules infractions. While Tiger has often been lauded in the past for his knowledge and use of the rules of golf, Bamberger highlights a handful of “eyebrow raisers”, one of which was heavily enabled by the PGA Tour.
Tiger’s alleged PED usage is the second part. Bamberger is very cautious in his chronicling of this saga. The tale includes Alex Rodriguez, Dr. Tony Galea, Anthony Bosch, and Mark Lindsay- among others. This section of the book is detail-laden and goes on at length. At one point, the author even suggests that the reader may want to jump about twenty pages ahead if they found the subject too ponderous. He lays out the case supporting the notion that Tiger, did use PED’s to hasten his recovery from ACL surgery. But the evidence may also suggest Tiger did enjoy some performance benefits as well. All of this, of course, is not proven nor does Bamberger suggest that it is fact.
Tiger’s Memorial Day arrest – perhaps Tiger might consider staying in bed during civic holidays – is described in detail. The author considers this moment the pivotal point in Tiger’s transformation from a self-involved isolationist to the more open and friendly Tiger we witnessed in his comeback season.
In summary, I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. If you like books about golf and Tiger Woods in particular – it’s recommended reading. The downside of the book is the somewhat meandering nature of Bamberger’s narrative. It does jump around a bit – a trait shared with many great works – however in this instance, it lacks a natural flow. It remains a good story with a lot of background information but frankly a slightly cumbersome read.