Top critical review
Not as much insight as I expected
on 17 April 2013
For anyone interested in Tiger Woods there is very little in Hank Haney's book that is new or particularly interesting.
Tiger Woods is recounted by Haney as being very focused on winning (antisocially so), extremely selfish and often distant, and ultimately tragic (with Haney concluding that Woods may never fully recover from the scandal). Well, all these things are known already, from reading newspapers and watching TV. In fact, I don't think Haney realizes just how much readers of his book already know about Tiger Woods' background and his fall from grace.
Irritatingly, much of the book is also taken up with Haney's defense of his teaching methods. Indeed, he is very sensitive to criticism, particularly of the swing he tried to teach Woods (which he says Woods never quite mastered). Had he mastered the swing, Haney insists, Woods could have been the greatest striker of the golf ball in history. That said, on the occasions Woods wins Haney says he nearly got it. When Woods performs badly it is because the method Haney taught wasn't being properly implemented. My view is that you can't win everything, no matter how great you are, and it has very little to do with the minutiae of Woods' swing, which Haney obsesses over. Whereas I think Woods is only human and had off days, Haney will say it was because Woods' dropped his head an eighth of an inch on the down swing.
But the worst thing about the book is that Haney constantly complains that he never got to know Woods personally, that Woods was always guarded around him. Well, the reason for that is that Woods clearly doesn't fully trust anyone and after reading Haney's tell-all account who could blame him! Haney was hired to help Woods with his golf swing, not to be his best friend and confidant, but that fact does not seem to have chimed with Haney who feels very 'let down' by Woods.
Ultimately, Haney's book confirms the things we already know about Woods but sheds light on almost nothing new. It inadvertently tells the story of what happens to people who are around great and famous sports stars, even more than it tells of those sports stars.