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The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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--Wall Street Journal
“An alarming look at an athlete whose public glories masked a day-to-day existence of profound superficiality…Even more revealing than the swing material is evidence of Woods’ emotional blank wall: his indifference to people around him, his inability to empathize, and an obsession with military training and the Navy SEALs that, according to Haney, probably led to the leg injuries which have hampered Woods’ golf career.”
“I learned more about Tiger in The Big Miss than I have in eleven years of covering him on the PGA Tour…I actually thought the book was very fair, it was honest.”
--Damon Hack, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
“While The Big Miss is many things -- a coach’s story; an account of a collapse; a deep dive into the swing mechanics and the art of golf – it also offers a welcome and unvarnished look inside. Books about major athletes are often authorized pabulum or arm’s-length agglomerations. Haney’s recollections are his own, and subject to dispute, but this is a rich and compelling rendering of a complicated athlete undone less by embarrassing details than by a self-inflicted, unsustainable myth.”
--Jason Gay, The Wall Street Journal
“Offers fascinating insights…The biggest strength of The Big Miss is the breadth of its insider view of the Tiger Woods phenomenon, a scrutiny previously unavailable to the public.”
--Kansas City Star
“Incredibly interesting—especially if you play golf...Haney does a great job of simply telling it like it is...The "why" behind the mystery of Tiger's perplexing personality weaves its way through the entire book.”
-David G. Kindervater, Featured Columnist, Bleacher Report
“After flying through this 247-page, mostly breezy and fascinating look into the life of a champion, I suspect most readers will ultimately have a newfound respect for Woods. I know I do....For the first time in the history of golf literature, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how an all-time great works. Many times the details are not pretty, but most of the journey Haney takes us on reveals a relentless passion to thrive in an era when so many professionals appear content to occasionally contend and collect healthy checks. If I were asked to recommend a book for an aspiring young golfer, The Big Miss would be the first title I’d select if for no other reason than most of today’s Tiger-wannabes will be motivated to work much harder than they currently do.”
“Thoughtful…Haney makes his case fairly and honestly, emerging not as a self-serving, tell-all author but as a man who has devoted his working life to the intricacies of the golf swing and who, finally, remains thankful to have spent six years with the best golfer on the planet.”
"The Big Miss is the most extensive and interesting portrait of Woods you're ever likely to read...[it] shines a light on the most opaque celebrity in sports. For that reason alone, it's a can't-miss."
--Orange County Register
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Top Customer Reviews
If you have read reviews or watched interviews with Hank Haney, you already know most of the "juicy" parts (and they really aren't that juicy). If you are not into golf, you will probably find the book excruciatingly dull as Haney goes on at length about the mechanics of Tiger's golf swing and the details of his practice routine and of various tournaments.
If, however, you enjoy the details of golf and/or enjoy reading about the personalities of superachievers, you will probably enjoy the book a lot. I did.
In fact, on the personality side, you get a twofer. You get one man's analysis of superstar/super narcissist Tiger Woods. And you also get to observe what happens when that ego collides with the big but fragile ego of super coach Hank Haney. Very interesting dynamics!!! In the end, Haney hails Tiger as the greatest golfer of all time. But that accolade is tempered by Haney's assessment of Tiger's underdeveloped personal skills. You also get Haney's defense of his own record as Tiger's coach.
Haney does not do this, but I noted parallels between Tiger and what I have read about superstars in other fields--particularly Steve Jobs and the early Bill Gates. It is apparent that super talent and warm, fuzzy personalities are not often combined in one package (although Gates seems to have mellowed).
Haney should have probably not written this book. While he apparently violated no contracts with Tiger, I agree that he violated the implied trust between a teacher and a student. Nonetheless, we readers are better off because he did. Once you filter out Haney's bruised feelings, "The Big Miss" really does appear to be as accurate a view of Tiger Woods as we will ever get.
There is a fair amount of information provided about Tiger's life, his family, his personal conduct, but Haney does not dwell on the scandalous behavior that ruined Tiger's reputation; he says he didn't know about any of it. Some of the revelations about how Tiger feels about other players and other athletes border on creepy.
The most surprising information is about how Tiger basically seemed bored with golf and wanted to become a Navy Seal. His body is overbuilt for his frame, which may be causing some of his physical problems. The book concludes with a lengthy and somewhat unpleasant self-justification of how Haney did a good job as Tiger's coach. I think he would have been better off letting the record speak for itself.
(1) First, I think that Hank very respectfully walks the very fine line concerning how much is appropriate for a coach to reveal about a player that he is coaching in an individual sport. If anything, it is fascinating for him to reveal his own intimidation at trying to coach someone that he is admittedly practically awestruck over. He also learns very quickly that Tiger is not one to offer compliments or thanks freely and isn't one to ever apologize for his not infrequent inconsiderate behavior. While Haney points this out, he does so in an oblique enough fashion for Tiger's personality to speak for itself (and does it ever).
(2) Second, Haney is revealing about his own emotions concerning Tiger's performance and how his own coaching effort is being judged. Haney is perfectly willing for us to understand his very human desire for approval and recognition for his contribution to Tiger's success. He admits his own insecurities about how to motivate Tiger and his own failures at times in doing so, particularly towards the end of his coaching tenure. In this respect, you couldn't ask the man to write a more honest book.
(3) It was shocking to read that Tiger was as insecure as he was about certain facets of his game. Certainly, all of his fans (most of whom are relatively unsophisticated about the mind of a champion golfer) thought that Tiger was someone without any doubts about his game relative to the rest of his competition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It appears Haney was spot on regarding Tiger! Along with his description of Tiger's lifestyle, which is common knowledge now, he was absolutely correct that Tiger damaged his knee... Read morePublished 19 days ago by J Bills
I found Hank Haney a very carrying persoon. Tiger has given so much of himself to all of us. I hope he finds his answers to life soon.Published 23 days ago by Jean M. Freeman
Great essay on tiger. I liked the depth that hank told of their intense practice. That is the difference maker in the pro golf world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
Mr. Haney spent years in close company with the celebrated Tiger Woods...he's a better man than me as I couldn't have stood being around Tiger more than an hour before deciding it... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dallas Jacobs
I'm sure the zillions of Tiger fanatics are horrified by this Book but they are horrified too often anyway. This book was just plain wonderful as far as I am concerned. Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. H. Graham