Friday, December 19, 2008

Bob Smiley's "Follow the Roar"

Bob Smiley is a TV writer and golf columnist for

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Follow the Roar: Tailing Tiger for All 604 Holes of His Most Spectacular Season, and reported the following:
P. 99 – Follow the Roar:

7:45AM • Next to the first tee sits the powder blue Walter Hagen Cup, the official trophy of the Accenture Match Play. It's made from Wedgewood china, making it the most fragile trophy in golf. Before the final match begins, the two girls in charge of seeing it's not broken spin it around so Tiger and Stewart Cink can pose next to it on the first tee. It's considerate of the tournament directors to give Cink his chance to see it up close, just once.

Feeling too drained after yesterday to take on another new fan, I've given my extra Sunday ticket to George again and tell him to feel no obligation to keep up with me. But he's still with me on the 1st green, so I ask about his Saturday night. Apparently, he drove to Mexico to place a sports bet, then he and his buddies stayed up late drinking, two of them passed out on the ground after fighting about who would drive to the gun show, he fell asleep on the couch, and the last guy was playing online poker until 5 a.m. I waited for him to add, "Isn't that crazy?" He didn't. I had the impression that that wasn't much different from every other Saturday night.

8:08AM • Tiger birdies the 2nd. One up.

8:50AM • Tiger birdies the 5th. Two up.

9:14AM • Tiger birdies the 7th. Three up.

9:22AM • Cink three-putts the 8th. Four up.

9:55AM • Tiger sticks it on the 11th. Five up.

9:56AM • Keep in mind that NBC's coverage doesn't start for two hours. Somewhere in the media trailers behind number 12, a producer is frantically trying to figure out how he can fill the last three hours of the network's four-hour broadcast.

While I can't imagine any of the words on page 99 of Follow the Roar being etched into my headstone, it does provide a glimpse of what I think my book does best, which is bounce happily between an eyewitness chronicle of Tiger Woods' amazing 2008 and my own demented travelogue.

Driven by unemployment, the TV Writers' Strike, and the defeated notion that perhaps I could learn something from Tiger, I set out in late January to follow him from the gallery for every hole of his season. It was something that no writer or golf fan had ever done, let alone attempted.

By Page 99 of my journey, Tiger had already won his first event in San Diego by a record margin and followed it up the next week by coming from 4 shots back with 9 holes to go to win the Dubai Desert Classic. Three weeks later, after escaping certain elimination two different times, Tiger arrived at the Championship Match of the Accenture Match Play in Tucson and everyone (probably even his opponent Stewart Cink) had accepted the fact that Tiger would win yet again. He was only getting better.

Of course, this was long before he mysteriously lost his ability to putt at the Masters and then underwent his first knee surgery of the year. When Tiger reappeared in June for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, no one really knew what to expect out of him. What he gave sports fans was 91 holes of the most gripping golf anyone had seen in 50 years. And I cover every moment of it, things you saw and things you didn't, in Follow the Roar.
Browse inside Follow the Roar or read an excerpt at

Visit Bob Smiley's Fore Right blog.

--Marshal Zeringue