63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
This is a difficult book to describe. It is very well written, and it provides what would appear to be a pretty good picture of the real Tiger Woods...both the golf prodigy and the totally self absorbed person.
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.
72 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
Hank Haney is a golf instructor and not a writer, but this book is well written. The focus is on Tiger Woods as a golfer, and to a lesser extent as a person, but Haney is mainly interested in the golf. We learn a lot about golf instruction and the fine line that some of these golfers have to maintain in order to compete. I wondered, before reading the book, why a guy like Tiger even needs a coach, but if his swing gets just a little off, he doesn't have the ability to correct it.
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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2012
Regardless of anyone's view of the whole "coach-player" relationship (and where the line is drawn about what can legitimately be revealed without going to far), this is an exceptional book to read for several reasons. Here is why I give this book a superlative rating:
(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. It turns out that Tiger is actually human; he actually gets nervous at the start of a tournament; he actually worries as much as any other golfer about avoiding "The Big Miss" (a great title!) and isn't at all "fearless" but very "fearful" (which any great golfer should be to some degree).
(4) Finally, the most surprising part of the book to me was how Tiger let himself be distracted (and arguably put his long-term career at risk) with highly physically intensive military special forces training. It seems likely that Tiger either hurt his knee in the first place (or significantly aggravated a previous trauma) through this training. How someone as focused and driven like Tiger could do this is in the category of inexplicable...of course, his more highly publicized personal "adventures" outside of his married life falls into this category but in some ways that is far easier to understand for many of us. Haney very wisely doesn't even go near the latter territory and for the book to be mesmerizing on its own merits, doesn't have to.
This book is destined to be a classic. If you have even the slightest interest in what it might be like to be shoulder to shoulder with one of the great performers of all time (professional golfers are performers in every sense of the word), you should read this book.
38 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2012
The media tour couldn't have gone any worse for Hank Haney as a bunch of media members who don't play golf and didnt read the book peppered him with questions about breaking a code. Read the book and understand the context of what Haney is trying to say. The relationship was very complicated and if Hank wanted to he could have blasted Tiger but stuck to golf 95% of the time and the other five was off the course stuff that affected his golf. Well worth the read.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
The first few reviews for this book were horrible so I figured it was alot of hype over nothing. But after reading I'll say that I think this is a very fair book by Haney. He doesn't take any cheap shots at Tiger and actually compliments him alot throughout. It was interesting to read about Tiger behind the scenes. People buying this book for dirt on Tiger's sex scandals will be disappointed, but for golf fans like myself it's to read the thoughts of a great teacher explaining how he worked with the greatest of all time.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2012
Overall, I'm glad I read this book. It did provide some insight into the world of professional golf, but it really lacked depth. Its actually a very short book and left me wanting more. Tiger is believably portrayed as an unlikable genius. One cannot even feel sorry for Tiger, who is basically an arrogant bizarre loner with no friends and no desire for, or understanding of, personal relationships. If half of what this book says is true, what a pitiful life that guy has. After reading the book, I know more about Tiger as a person (if you can call him that), and what it takes to be a professional golfer or coach. I've always heard other great athletes say that there is no more demanding sport than golf, both from a mental and skills perspective. This book certainly supports that assumption. And despite the misleading title (The Big Miss), the book is actually very complimentary of Tiger and his place in history. Its clear that Haney respects Tiger very much and he does try to be fair in his assessment of him.
So overall, it was "just OK". And other than being a bit shallow, I could have done without Haney's childish defense of his years coaching Tiger vs Tiger's prior coach. You're left thinking that this book was just a desperate attempt to save his legacy. It was unnecessary in my opinion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2012
Excellent account of Tiger's days with Hank Haney. Technical but very enjoyable for those interested in golf. I don't play but I've followed golf for many years and I am a big Tiger fan. Book was fair to Tiger but revealing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2012
As an avid golfer and golf fan, I liked this book, both for its insights into the golf swing and into the hugest worldwide athlete of our generation. There's a lot of technical golf jargon that I think might be a bit boring to the average reader. It even got that way for me a bit. It also gets a little repetitive at times when Hank describes their time together on the range.
I can't say that I loved this book though, because ultimately, what stood out to me at the end of this book is that w/ all the judgment that Hank passed on regarding his view of Tiger, he would be well suited to look a bit in the mirror. To be sure, Tiger come's across in general as a very spoiled, cold person, without a lot of warm human qualities. However, the real narcissist in the book turns out to be the author, Hank. Its clear that he needed to write this book as some sort of therapy in order to let the world know what a great teacher he really was, because it really angered him that Tiger didn't sing his praises often enough, publicly. If Tiger played poorly in a tournament and his post-tournament comments were less than positive about his swing, Hank took this as a personal afront as if Tiger was telling all the world what terrible teacher/coach he was, and that simply became the reason that he quit. Hank needed more public positive recognition than he ever let on, and his hyper-sensitivity and insecurity around that made him look and come off as petty and weak.
Its too bad, and its almost like he never got that feedback from anyone prior to publishing the book.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
The pre-release publicity for this book has been fairly misleading, so people looking for a tell-all book about Tiger's personal life should reset their expectations. This is not a tell-all; this is a book about golf.
And it's a fantastic golf book. It often goes into details of swing mechanics that non-golfers won't relate to. For people interested in the differences (and similarities) between Tiger's "Butch" swing vs. Tiger's "Haney" swing, this book is a must read.
But there's also plenty of other content (albeit in a golfing context) for non-golfers and/or those who are simply interested in what Tiger is like. The book deals with the dynamics of the teacher-student relationship, and most interesting of all, the ingredients that make for genuine greatness and the price that comes with it.
Overall, I thought the book was very fair and that Haney was also refreshingly honest about his own insecurities as Tiger's coach. This book is not a hit job. Haney repeatedly communicates his genuine admiration for Tiger's greatness, and defends him on a number of fronts. When the current media controversy over whether or not Haney should have written this subsides, people will be glad this book was written. In doing so, Haney has provided the world with an unrivaled account of one of the most interesting athletes in history. If you love golf and/or are interested about what makes Tiger great, I highly recommend that you read The Big Miss.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Excellent book. Hank is sincere, honest and revealing about himself and Tiger. Many are attacking Hank accusing him of betraying Tiger, but others will say this is the first time we've ever seen the curtain pulled back just a little bit revealing more than all but a few people know about Tiger.
Readable. Interesting. Loved it.