Raising the Bar: The Championship Years of Tiger Woods
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The Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship.
The Career Grand Slam.
At age 24.
He could very well be the greatest golfer to ever play the game.
Raising the Bar is the story of how Tiger Woods changed his life, his game, and the way America views golf. There have been many biographies written about Tiger’s life and early days with the PGA, but each ends with his triumphant victory in the 1997 Masters Championship. In the last few years Tiger has endured a lifetime of experiences, including his growing pains, his perceived slump in 1998, his incredible winning streak from 1999--2000, culminating in his career grand slam. Critically acclaimed golf writer and commentator Tim Rosaforte has watched Tiger since he burst onto the golfing scene and been an up-close observer of the Tiger’s life both on and off the course. Totally revised and updated, Raising the Bar includes Tiger’s latest victories—including his historic 2001 Masters victory that completed the Tiger slam—and provides intense insight into his amazing career.
Since storming onto the PGA Tour in 1996 and winning the Masters in 1997, Tiger Woods has topped golf's leader boards in most of the important categories, including ink. No golfer--indeed, no athlete, except maybe Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali--has been the subject of so many words in such a short time. In Raising the Bar, Tim Rosaforte adds to the flow, focusing on how Woods rebuilt himself and his game after the 1997 Masters and the slump of 1998. What's happened since, of course, is history.
And Rosaforte is there for every part of it. The conquests. The struggles. The endorsements, the contracts, the commercials. Tigermania. The horrible performance in the 1997 Ryder Cup matches. The doubts. The questions. The reassessment and reformulation of his game under the guidance of Butch Harmon. The weightlifting and fitness routine. The streak. The majors. The Grand Slam. It's a riveting triumph of will and focus, hard work and raw talent.
If Woods's game raises the bar--and there's no doubt that it has--Rosaforte's chronicle can't quite match the standards set by his subject. Yes, the book is well reported and certainly readable, but it seems rushed, a recapitulation churned out to be timely, rather than an analysis of a phenomenon that might be timeless in itself. Perhaps it's just too soon to expect that in a book, but if Tiger can raise the bar on the course, there's no reason the scribes who have him in their sights can't raise it some, as well. --Jeff Silverman
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