Synopses & Reviews
Perhaps the best golfer ever, Tiger Woods rocketed to the top of a once whites-only sport. Endorsements made him a global brand and the world’s richest athlete. The child of a multiracial marriage—with a father of white, black, and Native American descent and a mother who is part Dutch, as well as Chinese and Thai—Woods and his blond, blue-eyed wife, Elin Nordegren, seemed to represent a new postracial America. Then, in late 2009, Woods became embroiled in a sex scandal, as more than a dozen women recounted trysts with the married superstar. The anthropologist Orin Starn considers Tigergate in relation to the usual narrative of celebrity scandals, those ritualized, media-driven dramas that open with the first breathless reporting of celebrity transgression and end with a solemn public apology from the politician, entertainer, or athlete accused of wrongdoing. Each scandal has its own twists. Before Tigergate, scrutiny of Woods’s mixed-race heritage had seemed to wane with each major tournament victory. The revelations of his infidelities renewed attention to his skin color. The Passion of Tiger Woods offers new perspectives on race and sex, scandal and betrayal, Woods and the mythology surrounding him, and golf and its place in U.S. society. It is required reading for all those interested in the high-stakes world of professional sports and the celebrity-obsessed, media-saturated culture of early-twenty-first-century America.
andldquo;Orin Starnandrsquo;s excellent examination of Tiger Woods offers deep insight, original thinking, and valuable new perspectives. This book tells us a lot about Tiger, but even more about ourselves.andrdquo;andmdash;Jaime Diaz, senior writer, Golf Digest
andldquo;The next time someone asks me about anthropologyandrsquo;s value to contemporary cultural debates, Iandrsquo;ll just tell them to read Orin Starnandrsquo;s The Passion of Tiger Woods, a funny, engaging, readable, and unapologetically anthropological take on celebrity scandal, popular culture, and American sports. From playful musings on a potentially recessive andlsquo;golf geneandrsquo; to critiques of (wildly popular!) speculative genetic theories about black athleticism, Starn takes us on an entertaining ride through the history of golf, the rise of its current superstar, and the media maelstrom of racial and sexual imagery that followed from a relatively minor car crash in Florida one fateful Thanksgiving night. Iandrsquo;m one of those people who was tired of hearing about Tigergate almost as soon as the story first broke, but Starn does a convincing job of showing me why I should have been listening and watching even more closely.andrdquo;andmdash;John L. Jackson, Jr., author of Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness
andldquo;An in-depth study of the sport's exclusionary reputation, the celebrity industry, racial stereotypes, marketing and media avarice, Starn's treatment of the Woods scandal delivers layers of perspective to what, on the surface, was just another cheap tabloid feeding frenzy.andrdquo;
andldquo;[A] very engrossing read. . . . [T]he value of The Passion of Tiger Woods is simply that it is thought provoking. Starn provides readers with plenty of issues to consider about sports in culture, along with his own unique perspective
andldquo;[A] fascinating and thought-provoking look at how society gets its information and, often immediately, hands down its judgments.andrdquo;
and#160;andldquo;An excellent example of the power of anthropology to illuminate popular culture at the national level for a nonanthropological audience. . . . This report would be an excellent text for introductory anthropology classes, for those rare classes in the anthropology of sport, and as a gift to nonanthropologist friends who are curious about what anthropology might have to say about culture in the United States.andrdquo;
andquot;Starnandrsquo;s clarity about the cultural significance of sport and specifically of golf is refreshing. . . . The Passion of Tiger Woods offers an important entry point to thinking differently about sport.andquot;
andquot;The Passion of Tiger Woods is a wonderful example of the types of anthropological studies that are necessary and possible. Despite the obvious pitfalls of the anonymity of his subjects, the approach lends itself to useful, fresh, honest tracking of true public perception that ensues in the social media world, which cannot be ignored.andquot;
andldquo;Orin Starnandrsquo;s elegant little essay, The Passion of Tiger Woods
, arrives from
the outside and looks at the public spectacle of Woodsandrsquo; stunning crack -up.andrdquo;
andldquo;With Tiger as its springboard, andlsquo;Passionandrsquo; dives into some big themes the subtitle barely supplies the half of it and comes up with a short, compelling and eminently engaging postulation that goes well beyond its own titular transgressor.andrdquo;
"Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the history of the people and events of the game of golf.."—Gary McCormick, examiner.com
"An entertaining and informative read."—Lisa Timpf, AETHLON
“Nobody knows the game of golf and many of the quaint people who have inhabited it better than Bill Fields, and Ive never read anyone who gets them down on paper better than he does. Youll enjoy this book more than a string of birdies if you care anything at all about the sport.”—Dan Jenkins, author of Dead Solid Perfect
and Jenkins at the Majors
“Bill Fieldss field isnt golf; its people. With a reporters instinct and a writers empathy, he specializes in stories only he can see. Dont read him unless youre ready to laugh and cry. Both.”—Tom Callahan, author of Johnny U
“Bill Fields is the modern poet laureate of golf. . . . This is a book to dwell over and savor.”—James Dodson, author of American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf
“Bill Fields is simply one of our finest living golf writers.”—Roland Merullo, author of Golfing with God
and Passion for Golf
andldquo;Starn, an anthropologist, promises us not only golf but also the steamier topics of betrayal, raunchy sex and race conflict. And once weandrsquo;re past an early trot through American history and golf, thatandrsquo;s exactly what we get. Starn is a perceptive guide as he ranges from the Frankfurt School to social media with an enviable lightness of touch.andrdquo;
Examines how the 2009 scandal around Tiger Woods illuminates the relation between love, sex, race, and sports in American culture and society.
Perhaps the best golfer ever, Tiger Woods rocketed to the top of a once whites-only sport. Endorsements made him a global brand and the worldandrsquo;s richest athlete. The child of a multiracial marriage, Woods and his blond, blue-eyed wife, Elin Nordegren, seemed to represent a new postracial America. Then, in late 2009, Woods became embroiled in a sex scandal that made headlines worldwide. In this concise yet far-reaching analysis, Orin Starn brings an anthropologistandrsquo;s perspective to bear on Tigergate. He explores our modern media obsession with celebrity scandals and their tawdry ritualized drama, yet he offers much more than the usual banal moralizing about the rich and famous. Starn explains how Tigerandrsquo;s travails and the culture of golf reflect broader American anxietiesandmdash;about race and sex, scapegoating and betrayal, and the role of the sports hero. The Passion of Tiger Woods is required reading for all those interested in the high-stakes world of professional golf, the politics of sports and celebrity, and the myths and realities surrounding the flawed yet riveting figure who remains among the most famous athletes of our time.
This book examines the career of Tiger Woods, from child star to global sports celebrity. Starn shows that while the scandal following the revelation of Tiger's infidelities was like many similar media-generated scandals of recent years, by examining the way Woods was seen afterwards, we can learn a lot about race and sex in contemporary America.
In a long, award-winning career writing about golf, Bill Fields has sought out the most interesting stories—not just those featuring big winners and losers, but the ones that get at the very character of the game. Collected here, his pieces offer an intriguing portrait of golf over the past century. The legends are here in vivid profiles of such familiar figures as Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Mickey Wright, and Tiger Woods. But so are lesser-known golfers like John Schlee, Billy Joe Patton, and Bert Yancey, whose tales are no less compelling.
The book is filled with colorful moments and perceptive observations about golf greats ranging from the first American-born U.S. Open champion, Johnny McDermott, to Seve Ballesteros, the Spaniard who led Europe’s resurgence in the game in the late twentieth century. Fields gives us golf writing at its finest, capturing the game’s larger dramas and finer details, its personalities and its enduring appeal.
About the Author
Orin Starn is Professor and Chair of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes and a co-editor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics, both also published by Duke University Press. His most recent book is the award-winning Ishiandrsquo;s Brain: In Search of Americaandrsquo;s Last andldquo;Wildandrdquo; Indian. An avid golfer with a five handicap, Starn has written about golf for the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers and provided commentary on ESPN and NPR. He blogs about golf at golfpolitics.blogspot.com and regularly teaches a course about sports and society.
Table of Contents
1. Golf Backward Spells andquot;Flogandquot; 1
2. The Tiger Woods Revolution 23
3. Tigergate, Celebrity Scandal, and the Apology Society 39
4. Internet Wars, Sex Addiction, and the Crucifixion of Tiger Woods 55
5. Postracial Fantasies, Racial Realpolitik 67
6. Tiger's Penis 85
7. Out of the Woods? 107