Playing Through: Straight Talk on Hard Work, Big Dreams, and Adventures with Tiger


At the heart of Tiger Woods' accomplishments is the special bond he shares with his father, mentor and first goal coach, Earl Woods. In Playing Through, Tiger's dad shares the never-before-told story of the Woods family. Part autobiography and part ultimate insider's biography of Tiger, Playing Through is Earl Woods' opportunity to have his say and pass on lessons he has learned along the way.

For the first time, Earl faces the critics and cynics, addressing head-on the ...

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New York 1998 Hardcover First edition, as stated/first printing. New in new jacket ISBN: 006270222X. [4to] 269p. ill. (bw/snapshots) index. New in dj protected against wear and ... tear in Brodart Archival Mylar. Read more Show Less

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At the heart of Tiger Woods' accomplishments is the special bond he shares with his father, mentor and first goal coach, Earl Woods. In Playing Through, Tiger's dad shares the never-before-told story of the Woods family. Part autobiography and part ultimate insider's biography of Tiger, Playing Through is Earl Woods' opportunity to have his say and pass on lessons he has learned along the way.

For the first time, Earl faces the critics and cynics, addressing head-on the controversies and rumors that have grabbed headlines. In this brutally honest account of life with Tiger, Earl reveals how Tiger struggled to adapt to life as a pro, the racial attacks and hate mail, the painful sacrifices the family made throughout the years and the real reasons Tiger left Stanford after just two years. He also tells the untold story of what happened the night before Tiger's Masters' victory and the unique philosophy behind all of Tiger's actions, professional and personal.

Earl also shares his own stunning story. Raised by his sister after losing both of his parents by the time he was 13, he chose the military over a promising baseball career. He reveals the racial barriers that tortured him throughout his Army days, how he found his calling in the Green Berets and shocking details about his two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he met and befriended the original "Tiger," for whom his famous son is named. Woven throughout his recollections is the legacy of his mother and the lessons she imparted to him about family, faith and hard work — all of which helped Earl to nurture and guide his son's talent.

A tribute to Tiger, to the powerful role of family and the bonds between fathers and sons and to the sport that has made so much possible for the Woods family, Earl's words will inspire all of us to work hard, dream big and "play through" life's challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
From the father of one of golf's greatest players who has been by Tiger's side at every step along the way comes this inspiring memoir that will give insights on the champion as well as the man who guided him throughout his life and career. For the first time, Earl Woods faces the critics and cynics, addressing head-on the controversies and rumors that have grabbed headlines. Earl shares his own remarkable story: Raised by his sister after losing both parents by the time he was 13, he chose the military over a promising baseball career (he was the first African-American player in the Big Eight Conference), serving two tours as a Green Beret in Vietnam and retiring with the rank of colonel. As he provides an insider's look at his son's extraordinary life thus far, Earl provides the background of how he, his wife, and Tiger have evolved as a family, despite the obstacles. At its core, Playing Through heartwarming celebration of the unique bond between fathers and sons and shared hopes and dreams. Foreword by Tiger Woods.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The unusually close bond between golfer Tiger Woods and his father, Earl, former Green Beret and the young star's first coach, has already become part of the game's lore. Here Earl Woods, writing with Chicago Tribune sportswriter Mitchell, recalls his own life and the experiences that enabled him to train his son so successfully to excel on the links. An orphan at 13, he was raised by an older sister. He played baseball in college and chose the military as a career, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Woods so stresses the importance of hard work and human decency that at times he sounds almost theological. He emerges as tough-minded as well, as when he argues that the NCAA all but forced his son to leave college and turn pro, and he pulls no punches in labeling professional golf the most racist of all sports and private country clubs still the bastion of white supremacy. Brisk and likely to be controversial, Woods's memoir will be of greatest interest to his son's fans. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
The timing of this book's release would lead many to assume that Earl Woods is cashing in on his son's successþand they would be right. However, this is no mere exercise in literary exploitation. Woods's new book (after Training a Tiger, not reviewed), with Chicago Tribune sportswriter Mitchell, asserts the power that self-reliance and positive thinking can have on one's life. The book's title refers to Earl's sort-of mantra. He writes that playing through "is the ultimate manifestation of positive attitude; the belief that you can overcome, that you can keep going." Using his experiencesþof raising a prodigy, of dealing with racism, of going through the break-up of two marriages, of going to warþWoods shows how he has surmounted life's obstacles and how he has passed these lessons along to Tiger. If the younger Woods's success up to this point is any indication, Earl's advice is sound indeed. Of course, this book wouldn't be of much interest to Tiger fans if it didn't contain stuff about him. So, Earl tells of Tiger's carryings-on, both on and off the course, for instance, what it's like to deal with stalkerazzi and party down with celebrities, ranging from the golfers Jack Nicklaus and Arnie Palmer to the duchess of York. And having gained our attention, Earl holds forth on a variety of topics, including what a jerk he thinks Aussie golf pro (and perpetual hard-luck story) Greg Norman is, and what he thought of golfer Fuzzy Zoeller's racist remarks, made last spring after Tiger won the Masters. Earl even finds time to offer interesting theories about country clubs and white power, and young athletes' endorsement contracts. All this comes across as aproud fatherþs gushing. (b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour; television satellite tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062702227
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/2/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Read an Excerpt


The game of golf can be a metaphor for life. My life, for certain. I have experienced my share of birdies and a few eagles, yet it seems I have encountered more sand traps and bogeys than I care to recall. With every obstacle or challenge I've faced, however, I've managed to work through it and come out stronger and wiser. And as I walk down the 18th fairway of my lifetime, I hold my head high and make no apologies for the decisions and statements I have made. I realize now that everything happens for a reason, that there is a plan for all of us, which includes both good times and bad. The more astute among us are able to learn from our misfortunes and become stronger individuals. I have been a survivor, a living testimony that others like me can beat the odds, withstand the cruelties, indignities and setbacks that life can offer. I certainly hope the experiences I'll share in these pages will serve to motivate others to press on when the going invariably gets tough.

For those of you who play golf, you already know the sport's definition of "playing through." And using golf as a metaphor for life, the term playing through takes on a broader, more powerful meaning. Playing through means getting down to business, not letting anything get in your way, dealing with the task at hand, accomplishing your goals, not getting distracted by things that don't really matter, knowing yourself and drawing on that sense of self to get you through difficult times. Playing Through is my story, and, correspondingly, the story of Tiger.

When Tiger and I celebrated his stunning Masters victory by embracing, the television image was seen by 15million people. President Clinton called it "the best shot of the day." I also have heard it called "the hug felt around the world." This hug was an unspoken symbol of our mutual respect and an acknowledgment of all that goes into accomplishing a goal. In the pages that follow, you will find many stories about myself and about Tiger-'the bricks in the foundation that helped to build and reach these dreams.

My intention in writing this book is to bring people together, not set them apart. At times, I may speak from the seat of my pants, but I also speak from my heart. Those who know me well will affirm that I am not averse to showing my sentimental, compassionate side. I am not afraid to let people see me cry. But I have had a few close calls with meeting my maker, and I just don't seem to have the patience anymore to always say things perfectly or diplomatically. If I sound terse and irascible, it's because I simply, finally, want to be heard.

Along with the accolades and adulation Tiger has received during his relatively brief rise in the international spotlight have come criticisms and accusations'most of them totally unfounded and malicious in spirit. I have had my share of detractors, as well. While I do not feel compelled to answer to anyone except myself, I also believe, in another sense, that it is incumbent upon me to set the record straight on many topics regarding Tiger's and my purpose and agenda. You see, ours is a bond that can and will withstand any bombardment of innuendo or jealousy. That is because we deal in truths and concerns for the human spirit. Armed with those solid weapons, we cannot be beaten down. Don't judge us until you know our story, until you know the nature of our life experiences.

The greatest misconception the public seems to have of me is that I am a dominating, possessive, dictatorial stage father. That is exactly 180 degrees from the truth. Some people have suggested that I forced Tiger to play golf and made him do this and made him do that. Some people have raised questions about my first marriage and my three children from that relationship. They have tried to sully my current marriage with rumors and speculation. They have dwelled on the fact Tiger did not win a tournament in the second half of 1997, instead of emphasizing the fact he had the greatest year by a rookie in PGA history. I address all of those topics in this book.

My whole life is about being positive. It's about dreaming, and then taking steps in your life to achieve those dreams. It is about overcoming obstacles and stereotypes such as bigotry and prejudice. Life is about giving and about sharing and caring for others, standing up and being counted for what you believe in, being a spokesperson and a role model, and being an inspiration.

The heart that will beat forever in my soul belongs to my youngest son, Tiger. He is the product, symbol and extension of my beliefs. My wife, Tida, says that he is "The Universal Child" and that Tiger represents everybody in the world because of his diverse ethnic makeup. The fact that he is one of the world's greatest golfers is relevant only to the extent that the game provides him an international forum and platform to espouse our beliefs, which quite simply could bring families and nations together.

I come from a family where love was a given. We stood by one another at every crisis and did the right thing. That was a greater expression of love and affection than hugs or words or tangible presents. Giving gifts on holidays is not a normal practice for Tiger and me, either. Our relationship is so deep and so powerful and so strong that it does not need validating with gifts.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2003

    Playing Through

    My book that I have chosen is autobiography on Tiger woods.( Playing Through) I think that the events in this book were great, I feel that I that there were many important things that could help me through my own life, Earl woods ( Tigers dad ) also is one of the writers he makes many good points about life for example: that he was raised by his sister after losing both of his parents, he tells this story to Tiger any time Tiger even thinks about giving up. It¿s a reminder for anyone that think they got it hard, Earl also had to go to military over a promising baseball career, ¿and people today think they have it bad.¿ When I first picked up this book I new I would like it, I love golf and I am the biggest fan of Tiger, it was like this book was meet for me. I think this book was good for many different reasons but one is for sure is that the book would be good for any person, when first looked at it I though it would be just about golf, but I was wrong it was about life and playing through the hard times. I love the people that were involved in the story, I have the most respect Mr. Woods and all the hard times him went through, but most of all how he stood beside his son through everything. Tiger Woods was the main character in this book. Tiger Woods is smart young man who today is my own role model, who I look up to very highly, I feel that he is a every mature man that knows a lot about life. ( learning a lot from his dad) He is the number one golfer in the world today. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    Fred Mitchell wrote this book with Earl Woods.

    I am the author of this book with Earl Woods. I did not simply write the foreword as advertised in your promo.

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