The Second Life of Tiger Woods

April 04, 2020

It’s one of the greatest comebacks of all time. And for Tiger Woods—his game, his body, and his life in shambles—getting back to the winner’s circle was only half the story. Here’s the rest of it.

Tiger Woods’s long descent into a personal and professional hell reached bottom in the early hours of Memorial Day in 2017. Woods’s DUI arrest that night came on the heels of a desperate spinal surgery, just weeks after he told close friends he might never play tournament golf again. His mug shot and alarming arrest video were painful to look at and, for Woods, a deep humiliation. The former paragon of discipline now found himself hopelessly lost and out of control, exposed for all the world to see. That episode could have marked the beginning of Tiger’s end. It proved to be the opposite.

Instead of sinking beneath the public disgrace of drug abuse and the private despair of a battered and ailing body, Woods embarked on the long road to redeeming himself. In The Second Life of Tiger Woods, Michael Bamberger, who has covered Woods since the golfer was an amateur, draws upon his deep network of sources inside locker rooms, caddie yards, clubhouses, fitness trailers, and back offices to tell the true and inspiring story of the legend’s return. Packed with new information and graced by insight, Bamberger’s story reveals how this iconic athlete clawed his way back to the top.

Here you’ll meet the people who have shaped and saved Tiger’s life. It’s a disparate group: a Florida police officer, an old friend from Tiger’s boyhood, his girlfriend, his manager, his caddie. You’ll go inside the ropes and see Tiger’s interactions with fellow pros, with broadcasters and rules officials and Tour executives, with legends young (Rory McIlroy) and old (Jack Nicklaus) and in between (Fred Couples). On the Sunday before Masters Sunday, you’ll join Tiger as he takes a long, slow, contemplative walk across Augusta National, and you’ll be with him again seven days later in the splendid isolation of the tee at thirteen, in the rain, his right foot slipping while he swings his driver at 120 miles per hour.

This is an intimate portrait of a man who has spent his life in front of the camera but has done his best to make sure he was never really known. Here is Tiger, barefoot, in handcuffs, showing a police officer a witty and self-deprecating side of himself that the public never sees. Here is Tiger on the verge of tears with his children at the British Open. Here is Tiger trying to express his gratitude to his mother at a ceremony at the Rose Garden. In these pages, Tiger is funny, cold, generous, self-absorbed, inspiring—and real.

The Second Life of Tiger Woods is not only the saga of an exceptional man but also a celebration of second chances. Being rich and famous had nothing to do with Woods’s return. Instead, readers will see him apply his intelligence, pride, and enormous capacity for work to the problems at hand. Bamberger’s bracingly honest book is about what Tiger Woods did, and about what any of us can do, when we face our demons head-on.


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