Early in these free-flowing pages, where sociology, commentary and locker-room storytelling are deftly blended, Callahan displays an appetite for legwork that goes well beyond a few miles of golf terrain. — Colman McCarthy
Callahan's scattershot biography of Tiger Woods begins with a trip to Vietnam to find out what happened to the South Vietnamese soldier who became Woods' father's best friend during the war and gave Tiger his name. This abbreviated, unenlightening search eventually gives way to Callahan's account of his time spent following Woods around the world to all the majors, detailing his prowess and comparing it with other greats of the sport, including Jack Nicklaus and David Duval. For afficianados of the sport, Callahan includes trivia aplenty, but for everybody else there is precious little, including anything of import about the golf prodigy peering out from the cover.
Golf Digest columnist Callahan draws on seven years of interviews with Tiger, his family, friends, coaches and fellow golfers to unmask the man behind the growing legend. This well-written narrative examines Tiger's early years, how he got to the top of his game and his vision for the future. Anecdotes and insider insights highlight portraits of major Tiger victories. For example, when 15-year-old Tiger first met Jack Nicklaus, the old pro said, "Tiger, when I grow up I want to have a swing as beautiful as yours." Tiger thought, "I'm taller." Callahan discusses the differences between Tiger and his competitors with chapters on Ernie Els, David Duval, Sergio Garcia and more. Tiger's thoughts about race, endorsements, psyching out other players (he gives all competitors a nickname) and the infamous Fuzzy Zoeller affair at the 1997 Masters Tournament lift this entry above the crowd of Tiger books. The author even journeys to Vietnam to discover the fate of South Vietnamese soldier Tiger Phong, father Earl Wood's friend and Tiger's namesake. This is a comprehensive examination of the man, his talent, his competition and the world of professional golf, a must-read for fans and players alike. (Apr.) Forecast: Despite its mundane title, the book will soar, especially with national publicity, national radio campaign, author interviews and Father's Day advertising in the New York Times. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Callahan's interesting book on Woods will be enjoyed by golfing enthusiasts. Though he has done a masterful job gathering information on Woods from the golfer's parents, his PGA competitors, and even a little from Woods himself, the author falls just a bit short of giving the listener a real understanding of what it is like to be Tiger Woods. No surprise: Woods remains a very private person and still young enough to have ample time to analyze his game and himself if he chooses to do so. Meanwhile, Callahan, following Woods for seven years on the PGA tour, comes as close as anyone to figuring Woods out. Another ten years, who knows? Woods likely will continue to control access to his professional and personal life, and Callahan seems in a good position to work with him on providing that access when the time is right. Woods is a great golfer and great for the game. Narrated by Buck Schirner, this audio provides a solid listening experience and a lot of Woods golf to savor; recommended for general sports collections.-Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Golf Digest columnist Callahan takes an unfocused dip into the world of professional golf, intending to use Tiger Woods as his lodestone. His narrative, however, is too unbridled to have a central character. Nothing original will be gleaned from these pages as pertains to Woods, who continues to be a pleasant and graceful cipher. Callahan’s report that Tiger is a naturally gifted golfer who works hard at his game to achieve a thrilling level of control over the ball is not late-breaking news. Woods’s coach, Butch Harmon, may say, "Golf’s a fickle game . . . even the great ones find it, lose it, find it again, lose it again," but Woods has pretty much found and held his game. Callahan tries to get some mileage out of the father-son theme that has developed of late among golfersTiger and his dad, the Duvals, the Harmons, the Nicklauses, the not-so-recent Morrises, even Michael and James Jordan make it into the picturebut this doesn’t really lead anywhere other than some mildly interesting human-interest material. Mostly noticeable here are the qualities Woods doesn’t have. He lacks a sense of humor, at least in public; while Jasper Parnevik has the wit to say that golf is "a very strange game to have as a job," Woods bristles that "second sucks, and third is worse." He’ll never make it into golf’s long line of endearing eccentrics like John Daly (of whom Callahan remarks, "Though John thought [his fiancée] was twenty-nine and single, she was actually thirty-nine and married. This represented a pretty good capsule of his grasp on things"). And in dealing with Augusta National’s moronic traditions, Wood could use some of the ethical mettle Lee Trevino displayed in the 1970s.Highlighting the golfer’s faults is clearly unintentional, since Callahan is obviously a fan, but it’s typical of the author’s failure to control his material. Whatever Callahan is driving at here, it remains a mystery.
“Tom Callahan is the most complete sports writer in America. He knows the most and writes the best. In this journey, In Search of Tiger, he discloses the athlete and the man and makes us like and understand both. Pure Callahan excellence.”
—Roger Rosenblatt, Time
“We all relate to the relationship between father and son or parents and their children. That’s where Tom started looking for Tiger, and he found him.” —Gary Player
“When it comes to style, fresh insight, and perspective, few in a crowded field can even make the cut. As expected, Tom betters par by several strokes.”
—Bob Costas, NBC
“Tom Callahan writing about anything is like Julia Child saying, ‘If you don’t have any plans, stick around and I’ll make you dinner.’ ”
—Tony Kornheiser, Washington Post
“Tom Callahan knows the game of golf as well as anyone in the business. Many years, not just many nights, went into the telling of this story. A lot of Tom’s heart is in here, too.” —Jack Nicklaus
“In Search of Tiger deserves a place among the finest books ever written on golf or sports. It is the only Tiger book you ever need to read.” —Dan Jenkins
“Nobody now writing about sports brings more substantial gifts to that strange line of work than Tom Callahan. The voice is untheatrically eloquent, wry, and wise, frequently letting us in on unobtrusive truths that turn out to be strikingly relevant. His enthusiasm for his subject is tempered by a civilised worldliness. He is never cynical but, as was said of the great Chicago columnist Mike Royko, he is baloney-proof. I have long been convinced that he has a clearer understanding than anybody else I know of the essence and implications of the Tiger Woods phenomenon. In Search of Tiger reinforces that conviction.”
—Hugh McIlvanney, The Sunday Times of London
From the Hardcover edition.