The Curse of Mega Success
December 15, 2014
Whilst delayed on holiday recently I had 9 hours to kill. Like any good geek my iPad is filled with books, one of them being Hank Haney's “The Big Miss – My Years Coaching Tiger Woods”.
Now, I'm a big Tiger fan. There's no doubt that he is one of the best golfers, if not the best, to ever play the game so the opportunity to take a look into his notoriously hush-hush private life (despite his well publicised infidelity) really appealed to me.
Regardless of what you think about Haney's approach to the book and the popular opinion that it breaches the sacred player-coach confidentiality there's no doubt that the book confirms Woods' skill, work ethic and dedication.
There are questions raised by Haney towards the end of his memoirs that cast aspersions on whether or not Tiger's dedication is a product of nature or nurture, with Tiger being a firm proponent of the latter. As I read through the insightful book, that became more obvious to me and in pondering the heights that Woods achieved up until his win at Torrey Pines at the 2008 U.S. Open I couldn't help but dwell on the thought that Woods has a heck of a lot in common with two other highly successful individuals: Steve Jobs & Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Throughout Haney's memoirs nothing was more apparent than Woods' incapability to let people in close to him. His seemingly obsessive nature, his core single-mindedness and alluded to ADHD make for a great, great athlete but for a surprisingly shallow private life.
I don't presume to know anything about Woods but the feeling I got from this book was the same feeling that I got when I read Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography and Arnold's auto-biography “Total Recall” (which was blatantly rose-tinted) – in achieving the mega success their single-mindedness brought them, these guys had to forgo certain elements of their own private integrity and social awareness.
It just got me thinking about the price of this success. Surely guys who haven't achieved the mega-stardom of these guys, such as Phil Mickelson, yet have enjoyed a damned good career and a pretty stable private life (despite the rumours) have a more rounded life overall – what is the price of being the best; is it worth it?
Image courtesy of businessinsider.com