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The Big Miss

My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
Narrated by: Hank Haney
Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)

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Summary

The Big Miss is Hank Haney's candid and surprisingly insightful account of his tumultuous six-year journey with Tiger Woods, during which the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships and rewrote golf history.

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.

©2012 Hank Haney (P)2012 Random House

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

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 people found this helpful

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Great Insight..

Great insight into not only Tigers Wood’s’s life and game but the professional game in general.

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Excellent

When you think you know what happened to tiger and the people around him. You don't. An excellent book highly recommended

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Great Audiobook

Great insight into the coaching of the greatest player of all time. A must listen for any golf enthusiast

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THE single best audiobook I’ve ever purchased. If you love good people, and you love golf you HAVE to listen to this!

Just a beautiful honest insight into how one man (Hank) can give everything to the enigma that is Tiger Woods (I am a massive Tiger fan btw) but unfortunately never got the recognition he deserved. Hank Haney is an amazing coach, a true gentleman, and a much needed Friend that Tiger pushed away. Listen to this book it is so honest, not perfectly narrated by Hank (which I love....it’s real!) and it gives you a huge insight into the mind of Tiger Woods. I love Tiger, he is the greatest athlete of all time in my opinion, and under the most difficult of circumstances due to the bone deep racist culture in America......but Hank Haney went a HUGE way to help him be that figure. A true gent. Great book Hank if you ever see this. Thank you.

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Fantastic book to listen to

I listen to this book after listening to other tiger woods books. This one was so nice as you know the facts are correct and coming from a person who knew tiger so well just added that extra edge.

Great book

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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting

I found the story very interesting, I wouldn't say you learn a lot about Tiger Woods and clearly you could say very few do that even "know" him, but the way he conducts himself and how he approached golf I found interesting as a sports fan and big golf fan, worth a listen if you like either.

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enjoyed it

an interesting insight on what made tiger so great. maybe not for those who don't enjoy discussions on 'swing mechanics' , but if like me you do, it's well worth a listen.

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better than expected

never usually go for this kind of book but it was great to learn from someone who worked with Tiger.

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Interesting to say the least

Very good all round other than the final chapter where Hank veers off to get caught up in himself and the stats. Which made me re think that the whole book was indirectly about him. Overall though the book was a great listen/read.

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  • Ed Robertson
  • 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.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Rick
  • 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.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 10-09-12

insight into the mind of a phenomenon

You pretty much have to like golf to enjoy this book, but if you do, it is a good listen. Some of the technical aspects of the swing discussed are beyond my understanding, but it is nevertheless a fascinating look at the character of a golf genius, and a legend. Tiger isn't always a nice person, but in this book Tiger's tendency to be unsociable is forgivable, because it is seen as an integral part of his obsessive focus on just one thing - being a winner

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Krista
  • 25-05-12

My Husband Made Me Read It! (But I'm Glad.)

It is so rare for him to want to read anything that I willingly obliged, plus I am fascinated by Tiger and Hank. This was remarkable insight into Tiger's character, even if only from a couple of peoples' perspectives. I would like to read the same story from his viewpoint, but know that is highly unlikely since Tiger is far from being an open book or the type of person to tell his (real) story. It's part of what makes him a champion, an addict, an icon. Even during the parts that were golf-technical, I remained interested and it produced good conversation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 15-07-15

Worth It!

What did you love best about The Big Miss?

I grew up watching Tiger during his prime, but fell out of love with golf during his scandal period. This book is perfect in detailing Tiger's life and the lessons he's had to learn throughout his life. Even if you're not an avid golf fan this story truly tells the story of what life as a famous sports icon is like and what it takes to compete at a high level.

What did you like best about this story?

How Hank doesn't leave anything out in his opinion. He didn't hold back in describing Tiger's personality and detailing the decisions that preludes many famous events of Tiger's career.

Which scene was your favorite?

One of the best parts is how Hank tells his story about his falling out with Tiger. How all the things he wished that could have been better in their friendship and partnership could have been improved upon.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The book didn't really have one particular moment that "moved" me. I'd say does a great job showing the parts of Tiger the public never really has gotten to see, and explained his inner circles story relating to the scandal that still follows him around.

Any additional comments?

Other reviewers have commented a lot about the voice overs and dub type parts. It didn't really bother me all that much, and I was far too invested in hearing Hank's telling of his relationship with Tiger and the challenges Tiger has faced to care.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 21-05-12

Great insight into Tiger's persona...

Would you consider the audio edition of The Big Miss to be better than the print version?

Yes, because Hank Haney, himself, does the audio.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tiger. For anyone who has wondered what is going on behind the scenes with Tiger, this book reveals a lot.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • 18-05-12

Fascinating Insigt into Tiger

Would you consider the audio edition of The Big Miss to be better than the print version?

Unless you have lived in a dark cave for the last 20 years, you have heard about Tiger. I have always wondered: Why is he so good? Why is he so much better than everyone else? Why is he so muscular (for a golfer)? Why did he have all those affairs? Why does he seem so odd?

This book provides potential answers to all those questions. This is a book about personality, not golf, so you don???t need to be an avid golfer to enjoy this book. It???s fast paced. It addresses other golfers which is interesting. If you have ever wondered about Tiger, this book is for you! I highly recommend it!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 29-03-12

My review is biased but this book is aggravating

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better book... The book is a self-indulgent attempt to stabilize and uphold Haney’s reputation. It is a golf book I will give him that but it is only a golf book because he is very descriptive of Tigers stroke and his coaching in an effort to cover up the underlying message of the book which runs along the lines of...

What do you think your next listen will be?

Payne Stewarts Biography

How could the performance have been better?

the outtakes and voice dubbing could have been more streamed lined...

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Big Miss?

around chapter 3 or 4 when he starts getting critical of Tigers swing you can tell portions of the audio recording / book were edited for PC reasons...

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-20

Fantastic

This book was one of my absolute favorites. It give you an amazing perspective of Tiger and Hank that you wouldn't get anywhere else.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-02-20

pretty good

I was very interested to hear Hanks side of the Tiger years. I'm interested in seeing how Tiger's autobiography differs in tone.