How I Play Golf/By Tiger Woods with the Editors of Golf
Digest/Warner Books, $34.95
A recent search on Amazon.com turned up 71 books about Tiger
Woods, but How I Play Golf is the only one with his byline. That
is what makes this instructional tome so disappointing. Instead
of a banquet of fresh insights, all Woods gives us is the
reheated servings from his monthly Golf Digest lessons.
The 306-page book covers every aspect of the short and long game
in painstaking detail, but the writing is formal and
stilted--which is actually a good thing, because it captures
Woods's cautious speech patterns--and filled with cloying
homilies and banal accounts of his career. The Hoganesque seven
secrets Woods reveals here have been given a lot of hype, but
these revelations couldn't be more ordinary. For example, number
4 boils down to, If you want to hit good shots under pressure,
you have to practice a lot. Gee, no kidding.
For Tigerphiles the most interesting chapter should be the 11th,
"How to Get Strong." Woods has long guarded his workout regimen
as if it were the formula for Coca-Cola, but here he comes clean.
The amazing truth? He jogs, does stomach crunches and (gasp!)
even wrist curls.
For all its flaws, How I Play Golf is worth the price for the
glorious photography of Woods swinging the golf club. Among the
many dazzling sequences is a fascinating comparative look at the
evolution of his swing at ages 16, 20 and 24. These pictures are
more eloquent than any of the text in this book. Perhaps that's
the problem. Woods's game is far more than the sum of its parts,
his flawless technique amplified by unequaled passion,
dedication and athleticism. These traits can be quantified about
as easily as the grace of a Baryshnikov. We all know how Woods
plays golf. Here's hoping the budding author keeps his day job.
COLOR PHOTO: WARNER BOOKS