The Big Miss
- My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
- Narrated by: Hank Haney
- Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 27-03-12
- Language: English
- Publisher: Random House Audio
Hank was one of the very few people allowed behind the curtain. He was with Tiger 110 days a year, spoke to him over 200 days a year, and stayed at his home up to 30 days a year, observing him in nearly every circumstance: at tournaments; on the practice range; over meals, with his wife, Elin; and relaxing with friends.
The relationship between the two men began in March 2004, when Hank received a call from Tiger in which the golf champion asked him to be his coach. It was a call that would change both men's lives.
Tiger - only 28 at the time - was by then already an icon, judged by the sporting press as not only one of the best golfers ever, but possibly the best athlete ever. Already, he was among the world's highest paid celebrities. There was an air of mystery surrounding him, an aura of invincibility. Unique among athletes, Tiger seemed to be able to shrug off any level of pressure and find a way to win. But Tiger was always looking to improve, and he wanted Hank's help.
What Hank soon came to appreciate was that Tiger was one of the most complicated individuals he'd ever met, let alone coached. Although Hank had worked with hundreds of elite golfers and was not easily impressed, there were days watching Tiger on the range when Hank couldn't believe what he was witnessing. On those days, it was impossible to imagine another human playing golf so perfectly.
And yet Tiger is human - and Hank's expert eye was adept at spotting where Tiger's perfection ended and an opportunity for improvement existed. Always haunting Tiger was his fear of "the big miss" - the wildly inaccurate golf shot that can ruin an otherwise solid round - and it was because that type of blunder was sometimes part of Tiger's game that Hank carefully redesigned his swing mechanics.
Hank's most formidable coaching challenge, though, would be solving the riddle of Tiger's personality. Wary of the emotional distractions that might diminish his game and put him further from his goals, Tiger had developed a variety of tactics to keep people from getting too close, and not even Hank - or Tiger's family and friends, for that matter - was spared "the treatment".
Toward the end of Tiger's and Hank's time together, the champion's laser-like focus began to blur, and he became less willing to put in punishing hours practicing - a disappointment to Hank, who saw in Tiger's behavior signs that his pupil had developed a conflicted relationship with the game. Hints that Tiger hungered to reinvent himself were present in his bizarre infatuation with elite military training, and - in a development Hank didn't see coming - in the scandal that would make headlines in late 2009. It all added up to a big miss that Hank, try as he might, couldn't save Tiger from.
There's never been a book about Tiger Woods that is as intimate and revealing - or one so wise about what it takes to coach a superstar athlete.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Neil on 13-07-12
I'm really enjoying this. It is a great insight into Tiger Woods and specifically how he plays golf. It is not the tell tale expose people might expect and although there are some colourful details about Tiger's character in the main these are things people already know, he's sullen, super focused etc etc.
There is brilliant stuff about how Tiger learns, how he adapts to change and how he prepares to play. His relationship with Haney and how Haney felt during his association with Tiger is fascinating stuff.
There are few account of golfers playing in their prime that are written from such a close perspective. Golfers themselves are not necessarily able to disengage enough to write such a detailed and insightful account of what made them play the way they played or act the way they acted (Mark James' book on the Ryder Cup for example...). Haney's position as coach makes him a brilliant observer of Tiger and the account he gives feels remarkably authentic.
It would be churlish to say that Haney's narration lets the book down, however his narration is very much in the good not great category. Also, some of the editing of the audio is clunky and should really have been better.
Overall, if you are interested in Tiger this is a fantastic book. If you interested in gossip and tittle tattle about his lifestyle then there are other places to get that info.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By E. L. Robertson on 28-03-12
Very Mixed Feelings
First let me say that I am an ex-professional golfer and totally understood everything Hank says. But, I seriously doubt that the average golfer will understand or comprehend the vast amount of technical swing comments made in this book.
Secondly, I do not agree with the fact that Hank felt the need to write this book. There is so much personal trust in the relationship between athletes and those that surround them that there is an unspoken code that must be respected. I feel that Hank shattered that code and I will never respect him for that... only time will tell how Hank's reputation is effected.
But, thirdly, for those out there who want to get a glimpse of the intense work and pressure that a world class athlete is under, Hank does a nice job of getting that across. Had there not been the stigma of "kiss and tell", I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book. And, of course, this was Hank's opinion and story... I'm sure Tiger's recollection would be much different.
Was the book fair... maybe. Should it have been written... absolutely not.
I would also like to make a technical comment about the narration. Hank did a great job which is unusual for a writer who chooses to narrate. But, there were times in the narration, that there seemed like another voice came in like a voice over... I'm not sure if it was Hank doing a voice over or some other narrator cleaning up mistakes. Whatever, it wasn't annoying.
30 of 35 people found this review helpful
By Rick on 05-02-17
The Big Miss: Doesn't Miss!
I remember when this title came out. My first thought like everyone else was an opportunity for everyone to pile on Tiger's fall from grace but now I see that's a bit harsh. I was at Torrey Pines on the Monday, 2008 U.S. Open playoff rooting for Rocco Mediate, hoping, just hoping Tiger would lose and everyone would be able to see that he was mortal. As history shows, that didn't happen. Tiger won the 2008 U.S. Open, and his legend continued.
Hank Haney gives an inside look into what it takes to be the world's greatest golfer, and what it must be like to be Tiger Woods, and his swing coach. Remove the sex scandal, and the speculation of PED's (adequately outlined by Haney) and you'll find a very driven, complex individual that is difficult, if not impossible to figure out let alone beat after 72 holes. The guy is amazing!
I chose this title in preparation for the 2017 golf season and sort of a primer for my game this year. I've never been a big Tiger Woods fan though anyone can see that his golf game has elevated the demands, and expectations of the sport to a new level over the last 20 years. Everyone wants a game like Tiger even on his bad days. And he sets the standard even when he's not playing as confirmed by his fan base. After he missed the cut at the 2017 Farmers at Torrey Pines, the gallery was almost empty, and television coverage noted their absence on Saturday/Sunday.
If you're a golfer preparing for this season, or are simply looking to understand how one of Golf's greatest players became the games best for a period, add this title to your queue. Even though the narration is a bit unpolished, you won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful