Roaring Back: The Fall and Rise of Tiger Woods

Curt Sampson. Diversion, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-63576-682-0
In this stirring assessment of Tiger Woods, Sampson (The Masters) takes readers through the golfer’s life. Structured by significant moments in Woods’s career—the legendary 1997 Masters tournament; the 2009 PGA Championship loss to Y.E. Yang and Woods’s car accident months later; his stunning 2019 Masters victory—the biography incisively captures the famously inscrutable Woods. Throughout, Sampson weaves snippets of his interviews with Woods along with examples of how the golfer rebuilt his career, such as by hiring golf instructor Sean Foley (“a kettle of fish of a different color... he spoke biomechanics, not Hogan catch-phrases” and listened to rap music), and prepared himself before practice—Woods sometimes waking “at a quarter to four” to prepare for early tee times, an especially arduous task for his aching body. Sampson also provides insights into the early years of Woods’s career, discussing his reluctance to accept the role of “Ambassador of his Race” while also acknowledging father Earl Woods’s determination that his son not face the “racial injustice” he had in his youth. Perhaps most striking, Sampson writes with eloquence about Woods’s recent triumph at the Masters, the culmination of his years of recovery, and how the 2019 victory at age 43 “tapped into our intense and undying interest in tales of redemption.” This is a must-read for Woods’s fans and casual golfers alike. (Oct.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly noted Tiger Woods's age when won the 2019 Masters.

Reviewed on : 11/06/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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