Tiger Woods: Cradle to Champion

When a young "phenom" performs remarkably in any sport, it is often assumed that overbearing "stage parents" are behind the early success. Tiger Woods's spectacular career seemed a likely case.

But Tiger, an engaging biography of the young golfer - written by sportswriter John Strege, who has followed his progress since Woods was 14 - proves otherwise. His rapid rise to the top of the golf world is the result of a youngster's joy in a game, his unwavering enthusiasm for the constant practice and study needed to make perfect, supportive parents who had at times to rein him in, good coaching, and, of course, a natural gift.

The book ranges from Tiger's birth to just before the Masters victory in Augusta, Ga., in April that fully unleashed "Tigermania." What stands out in this well-written family story is how a talent evident from before age 1 has been nurtured along with a young man's character.

Tiger has been breaking records from the start. After "flabbergasting" his father by hitting a shot into a makeshift garage net at nine months, he won a 10 & under competition at age 2. At age 10 he set his future goals based on a Golf Digest list of Jack Nicklaus's accomplishments.

We also learn how Tiger faced the "real world" his first day at kindergarten, when older white boys tied him to a tree, taunted him, and pelted him with rocks. Strege's book covers each stage of Tiger's career, including the criticisms that have been directed at the young man who has changed the world of golf forever. And it offers the advantage of the author's direct access over many years to Tiger's coaches and a family that is well worth knowing.

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