His Father's Son, by Tom Callahan

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The Independent Culture

The headlines Tiger Woods makes on the golf course these days are as often for boorish behaviour as for sparkling strokes. And the more one learns about his father, Earl, in this joint biography, the harder it is hard to resist the thought that, in so many ways, Tiger is, ahem, the spitting image of him.

A US Army officer who served in Vietnam – "Tiger" was the nick-name of a South Vietnamese army buddy – Earl returned home with a much younger Thai girlfriend, Tida, and promptly ditched his first wife, Ann, to marry her. Getting the golf bug when he retired from the army, Earl had his new son wielding a club before his first birthday, and the pair remained very close until Earl's death in 2006. Earl was also an indiscreet womaniser who had to be bailed out of trouble by Tiger more than once, and you get the distinct impression from this revealing book, written by an author on first-name terms with all the protagonists, that the son's hero-worship led him to believe that if Daddy did it, it must be OK.

Tiger also looms large in Moment of Glory (Sphere, £11.99), the latest book by another excellent US golf writer, John Feinstein. But it is not his glory under discussion, rather that of the four underdogs who, looking nervously over their shoulders in case he came good, snaffled the majors in 2003 as Woods struggled with his swing. As in his classic account of a year on the US PGA Tour, A Good Walk Spoiled, much of the enjoyment lies in Feinstein's eye for telling detail. Of that quartet of first-timers, only Mike Weir has won another major, though Jim Furyk remains a perennial challenger and Shaun Micheel and Ben Curtis still have occasional days in the sun. It remains to be seen whether in future Tiger can return to playing more in hope than expectoration.

Published by Mainstream in large-format paperback, £10.99

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