By Jeff Skinner
What do you call someone that follows you to work each day and watches everything you do? Under normal circumstances that would be a stalker. In this case his name is Bob Smiley the author of Follow the Roar and he is not a stalker. Smiley came up with the idea to follow Tiger Woods for every hole of every tournament of 2008.
It is not that Smiley had many options to choose from before he started his season long task. As he explains, he was an out of work writer with out many prospects. He came up with the idea to follow Woods so he may try to improve his own golf game. Well, he may or may not have succeeded, but he could not have timed it any better. Smiley was front and center for one of the most memorable golf seasons in history. Timing is everything sometimes and Smiley happened to pick the right time to stalk the greatest player in the world.
Tiger Woods and all the players on the PGA tour are followed by hundreds of reporters and journalists each week they play. The difference between them and Bob Smiley was that they were legitimate members of the press. Bob was not. He had no credentials or press passes. He was a fan. Just like all the thousands of ticket buying regular Joe’s who stand behind the ropes. He had no special access or parking pass or free food or air conditioned press tent to operate from. Smiley was stuck in the pack with the real golf fans. It is from that perspective Smiley tells his story and that is what makes this book fun.
Originally, Smiley had planned to go the entire season and that would have cost him money he did not have. He certainly had a very understanding wife. He was determined that this had the potential to be a successful undertaking for him, but even he could not have seen the dramatic climax Tiger’s year was to have.
If you live on the planet earth you know how Tiger’s season ended. So there is not much suspense here. The joy in this book comes from Smiley’s journey. He traveled far indeed but it is his travels that entertain not his miles. The characters he met and the friends he made along his way are interesting and entertaining.
Smiley started this trip anything but a Tiger Woods fan. He says he actually hated Tiger and would root against him each week. Smiley was eventually won over by Tiger’s talent, determination and courage. He is like many that witnessed this season. All of us were astounded by the way Woods finished the season with the U.S. Open win on half a leg. Smiley’s account of this wild season makes you feel like you were there for each shot, standing behind the ropes with all those converted Tiger fans.