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3.1 out of 5 stars
Tiger: The Real Story
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
By the author's own admission he has had no meaningful interaction with Tiger Woods. As a result, most of what's in this book is a re-hash of newspaper and magazine articles. The reader will find no new insight into Tiger Woods or what makes him tick. There's really nothing here for someone interested in the game of golf. This is just another product of a culture mad about celebrity. The best parts of the book were mini-biographies of Tiger's parents who are in many ways more interesting than he is (off the course, that is). The book reads like a People magazine article which was explained when I got to the end of the book and found out that the author is a writer for the same magazine. If you like People magazine or other publications of that variety, then this may be your cup of tea. If you are looking for something substantive about Tiger, the spirit of an elite athlete or the game of golf you will be disappointed by this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I've been golfing about 25 years now and have regularly been a fan of the PGA Tour.
Consequently, there is nothing about Tiger Woods in this book that I already didn't know. I learned a little about his mother and father, but to me it was irrelevant.
If you are not a golfer, this book may give you a little insight into Tiger's past. Anything you may want to know since last Thanksgiving, you can get more than enough from news reports on the internet, People mag, US mag, etc.
Also, way too much ink is wasted on the transcript of Tiger's public apology.
I plan on buying Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season by Robert Lusetich and hope I will get more insight as to what made/makes Tiger tick. The reviews look promising.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Though I do not follow golf, it was hard not pay attention to Tiger. Naturally, I was left shaking my head with everyone else, wondering what drove someone so disciplined to make such a mess of his life. Steve Helling's book answers some of those questions, though it would be impossible to answer all of them. It is not a book of sensationalism or speculation, but well-written journalism that give us an inside look at both the life and the downfall of a paragon who never asked to be placed on the pedestal on which the world displayed him.

This book follows the clues that tell us some of what makes Tiger Woods who he is, starting with the breadcrumbs that were dropped long before his birth. While a bemused public looked on as a toddler putted against Bob Hope, not one of them could have predicted that that same child would grow to be not only the world's greatest golfer, but also a hero and role model with such a carefully constructed persona that even his handlers would forget that a real person lay behind the smoke and mirrors. Tiger Woods was not a god, but an unforgiving public would punish him for not acting like one.

While he is responsible for his mistakes, one can't help but wonder who Tiger would have been had he been allowed to be Tiger Woods rather than a meticulously crafted ideal.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
"Hi, my name is Tiger Woods. I was a great golfer, I won a Masters or two, and everybody loved me and thought I was the coolest, and then I cheated with some chicks and my wife found out, we got divorced and I became the butt of everybody's joke, from Saturday Night Live to various talk shows to the radio and much, much more. Then, I tried to make a comeback and I was a shadow of the golfer I once was. Now, some dude who knew how to make good money off of this sad tale wrote a book about it. THE END"
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Biographies are not my usual fare and I was somewhat reluctant to read this book. I was pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the writing and the caliber of the material presented. I enjoyed the writing style as it kept me interested all the way through the narrative. I am grateful to the friend that recommended I read it.
The author does a good job of detailing the background that helped form the man we know as Tiger. I could not help but find myself pulling for Tiger as he strove for the next achievement on the horizon. In the end, I felt sorry for him while still realizing that he brought it all upon himself.
Parents or families, wealth or poverty, successes or failures; these are not responsible for our decisions - we are.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
One would assume that the real "real story" should include, as a minimum, the inside details of what happened to cause Tiger to end up outside his home in near freezing weather in his boxer shorts? And why he was so soundly asleep after plowing into a tree? What triggered this sequence of events? Did he and his wife have a fight? Was he on drugs? Was he attempting to commit suicide? Why would a billionaire world-class athlete at the top of his game, married to a beautiful Swedish model, with two lovely kids, risk it all, including his family's health, for a little outside "trim?"

Steve Helling, the author, advertised this as the "real story." However, powerful little in the way of details that would answer any of these questions is revealed in this book. So at the very least, the subtitle "the real story" is a bit misleading if not entirely inappropriate. In point of fact, it strikes this reader that the book is little more than an overnight internet compilation. And although it is competently written, it is not an especially elegant rehash of what we already know about Tiger's life.

Most of what is offered here is basic background biography on Tiger, his family and friends. And while there are a few direct quotes, clearly it has been gleaned mostly from other secondary sources. That, in and of itself, would not have been all bad had the author offered up something new, such as minimal analysis about the reasons for Tiger's self-destructive behavior. Yet, here, the only thing that comes close to analysis is offered in a single paragraph in the epilogue where the author concludes that "Tiger's brand" had built up an impenetrable wall around him. And as a result, the only people he allowed to penetrate that fortress were the "loose women" who brought him down. And while this may well be the case, this is only one of many minor details, far from a full explanation; and certainly not a sufficient analysis. This omission in the book of course leaves it up to the reader to fashion his own armchair psychological explanation. So here goes mine:

It seems that for many reasons Tiger was ill equipped to deal with his phenomenal success. He was an only child who grew up in a racist environment, who had never had a smooth teenage social life and who was not particularly introspective (say like Andre Agassi was for instance). Tiger never gained any social traction among his peers, or learned the basic social skills until he was nearly an adult and had begun to be recognized for his golf prowess. By then his social development had suffered and he matured socially on a slower curve than his more normal socially adjusted, more socially experienced, peers. Add to this the fact that his father, his only role model, was a congenital serial womanizer; and that Tiger internalized his father's behavior, and everything else pretty much falls into place psychologically.

Once he became a famous golf pro, he admitted that he felt entitled to screw around. However, I believe this sense of entitlement had much more to do with redressing the insult of being marginalized socially as a result of a racist childhood than due to his newly acquired wealth and status. The wall that his brand had built around him simply allowed him to compartmentalize his married life and his self-destructive sexual behavior. Screwing around with "loose blonde women" was one way of killing two birds with one stone: making up for lost time while redressing a societal insult. "Screwing around" thus easily became a natural continuation of the process of compartmentalization provided by his "Brand."

In any case, this is not the book to read if one is really looking for the "real story." Two stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you like the articles in People magazine - superficial, vapid, "light summer reading" - and you know nothing about Tiger Woods, you'll probably like this book. If you are looking for insight into why and how someone with immense talent, discipline and fortune, and what would be considered a relatively normal upbringing, could behave with such reckless and irresponsible abandon oblivious to consequences to people around them, this isn't the book. This book is like chewing gum - mindless.
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23 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is written in an objective, historical, yet honest view of the life of a very public, yet private individual. Helling does a great job of describing how Tiger got to be what he has become, from early influence of his father, his background, his love for the game of golf, yet pulls no punches in describing the the way he handled (or mishandled) the subsequent fame and fortune.

Great book, Steve. I enjoyed reading it, even though at times, it made me squirm in my seat. It's a good human interest reminder that no man is immune to anything, and without daily dedication to doing what is right not just in public, but also in private life. No man is an island...
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on March 24, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book shows more evidence that you can be great at something, and still be a crummy human being. Tiger is a mean spirited, filthy mouthed, vindictive out of control womanizer that is also a liar of the worst kind.

To do what he did and does, to your wife and kids and then have legal liars to get you out of everything is just pathetic.

You don't see Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer or Lee Travino, Johnny Miller or Gary Player on the front pages tearing golf down and making it in the same league as basketball or football thugs.
"Eldric" gets away with it, because he brings so much money to the game and ratings, that everyone is scared to say anything because they'll get on Tigers "banned list".

People don't know it I guess, but if Tiger never plays again, the game will be just fine and continue to be great as it has for hundreds of years before him. The media and reporters and players sacrifice the character of this game by keeping their mouths shut, and looking the other way in return for CASH, and many of us don't like it. No one could get away with what tiger brings to the game in terms of lack of class and breeding and anyone that tried would be shut out of the game just like that low-life John Daly.

In closing, I know a lot of today's low class bums will not like my review, because they're all brainwashed into loving "big names" and stars, and not the game or the kind of character it stands for, but to some of us we still look up to at least one thing or one game or person on the planet that is a good roll model, and has class and shows some etiquette and reverence or respect for something great. The game has lost that with Eldrick at it's helm, and won't ever be the same is my guess.

Golf isn't FOR everyone, because it's also about integrity, honesty and character and how one caries themselves, so most people won't like the game for that very reason today, and I'm okay with that. But to lose another level of dignity in a country or world that feels it necessary to trash everything in sight, just brings us all down one more level toward the bottom and for that, I'm sorry to see tiger in the game.

As proof of what I say, he's been caught cheating 5 TIMES THIS YEAR SO FAR to show how low this man can get, and bring everything down to his level.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for a family member who loves Tiger Woods. She gave it back to me to resell on Amazon and I read it before listing it. I knew very little about Tiger Woods, so I gave this book a 3-star rating--I learned about 3 stars worth, but the complete story is only inside Tiger himself. So this was real but not complete, in my opinion. The author writes for magazines and that is how the book reads, like individual articles put together in a book.

I don't follow Tiger Woods and didn't hear his public apology on television. That apology is in the book, but feels/sounds scripted, as I'm fairly sure it did to him reading it. Those who follow Tiger probably know most of what is in this book already. There is some detail about his childhood, his extremely close relationship with his father, and a few quotes that make him seem like an average American husband and father. Reading the book, I felt like his fame, talent, and celebrity just got so huge that his pride and arrogance blinded him to the edge of the cliff. He was very, very big and he fell very, very hard. The book does not have "the rest of the story," so time will tell what happens with the prodigal golfer.

I did not love or hate the book. It read, to me, like a peek at Tiger's life, and only what had to be told, without revealing or defaming anyone. I guess the world was shocked because it is so easy to think celebrities are our close friends or are like us, but really very few of us reading this knew him or were close to him at all.
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