Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review of "The 1997 Masters"

This was one of those sporting events that you will know exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard that Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters by 12 strokes. The only part of that day that seems sad to me is that it has already been 20 years since that historic event.  Woods decided to share his story about that tourney, and it is a terrific book. Here is my review of "The 1997 Masters."

“The 1997 Masters: My Story” by Tiger Woods with Lorne Rubenstein, narrated by Scott Van Pelt
Golf, history, race, audiobook

Publish date:
March 20, 2017

244 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)


By 1997, Tiger Woods had already become a well-known golfer thanks to his outstanding amateur career.  But that year, when he won the Masters by 12 strokes, his career and personal life took a different turn that would drastically change both of those lives for him.  On the 20th anniversary of that historic tournament, Woods decided to share the story of that tourney and what it meant to him and his family.

Readers who want to learn more about Woods’ personal scandals or hear him speak out on racial issue will be disappointed as he only calls his divorce and subsequent scandal personal mistakes and instead of speaking out on social issues, his talk about race is gratitude and appreciation for black golfers who suffered through discrimination in the game and broke through the color barrier the Augusta National Course.  These include golfers such as Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder, the latter being the first black golfer to play in the Masters in 1975. 

The most personal Woods gets is frequent stories about his parents – and in the book, his mother receives as much credit and love from Woods as does his father.  Most stories fans read only talks about Woods’ relationship with his father, but in this book he opens up about the relationships with his mother as well.

The bulk of the book is about golf.  There are stories about that week in the Masters of course, but he also shares stories about playing practice rounds with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, his current golf business and much discussion on technique and equipment.  Casual golf fans may be lost in the talk of angles of putters or snap-hooked drives into the trees, but for me, this was terrific.  A reader can learn a lot about the game by listening to these segments, which come in the sequences about the 1997 Masters itself as well as the stories outside the tourney.

The reader will follow Woods shot by shot, hole by hole for the entire tourney and I loved listening to Scott Van Pelt’s voice describing the scene and Woods’ thoughts as he wrote them.  The end of the book when he describes how today golf is all about how long the players can hit is a perfect transition to illustrate the differences between his win 20 years ago and the game now. Golf enthusiasts should add this to their libraries, regardless of their fandom of Woods. The tourney was a historic one and this first-hand account from the winner of that Masters is one to treasure.

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