Book Review: The Swinger by Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck

For those of you who have missed seeing Tiger Wood’s face plastered all over the tabloids, you are now in luck. A book has hit the shelves (a work of fiction, I believe) to satisfy your innermost Tiger cravings.

Before picking up Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck’s The Swinger, I fully expected their work to be some exploitative effort to capitalize on the indiscretions of the world’s most recognizable athlete, by loosely inventing a golfer of their own who, like Tiger, had it all, then lost it because of his uncontrollable urges and ego.

I wasn’t far off.

Our story begins when the book’s main character, print reporter Josh Dutra, receives a tip that the world’s most famous (and married) athlete was spending a little too much time at a local strip club, and doing more than just getting friendly lap dances.  That athlete is Herbert X. “Tree” Tremont, The Swinger’s parallelo-Tiger, “a multi-racial philanthropist and athletic icon,” who Dutra has covered since he was a child prodigy.

Like Tiger, Tremont is an athlete who transcends his sport.  He’s won 13 majors, has a foreign-born model for a wife, endorsements with all the major corporations and even has a rival named Will Martinsen.  “They could not have been more different, Will and Tree.  Will was the Tour’s most high-profile family man, his charming wife and children always by his side.”  Does any of this sound familiar yet?

The comparisons to Woods are so spot on, I’m surprised Bamberger and Shipnuck didn’t consider naming their book “The What We Really Think Happened To Tiger Woods Story.”

Remember when Hollywood ill-advisedly remade “Psycho,” starring Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates and the script remained essentially verbatim?  Upon reading The Swinger, it was just as difficult to differentiate Tremont from Woods, with many of his exploits only straying a wee bit from the alleged truth.  Had there never been a Tiger Woods, The Swinger would have flown off the shelves, but alas, Tiger’s real life beat them to it.

Dutra gives up his position as journalist and eventually becomes Tremont’s director of communications.  Tremont and company readily accept him into their circle of trust based on their lengthy relationship, yet Dutra remains torn between his decision to abandon his journalistic background and his burgeoning friendship with Tremont when he learns the extent of his extracurricular activity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you pretty much know the rest of the story.  Star golfer has multiple affairs, gets caught, divorces wife, loses fan base, fortune and tour success as a result.

The similarities between the two golfers’ downfalls are so striking, they border on libelous.  The steroid allegations, the history of sexual infidelities, his mother’s passing (instead of his father), his wife taking a golf club to his face during a holiday meal, the public apology, all the way down to Kenan Thompson’s Saturday Night Live spoof of the incident.

I will admit to being glued to the pages of The Swinger, waiting for the next, ugly chip in Tree’s life to fall just as we all did with Tiger in real life.  The book reads like a guilty pleasure.  It was like reliving Tiger’s sordid wrongdoings and hoping for a happy ending.  Tasteless pun intended.

In the end, Tremont ends up in rehab, with Dutra by his side.  The rest you’ll have to read for yourself.

Although the book appears nothing more than an effort to loosely trace the life of a Tiger-like character, it isn’t entirely without merit.  It did raise some interesting questions regarding privacy and the professional athlete, ironic considering Bamberger and Shipnuck based their novel (not so) loosely on what happened to Woods.  Swinger does, however, provide us with more closure than the real life version.

We may never know what really happened to Tiger that Thanksgiving night and what’s going on in his head now.  All we have are the testimonies of a few waitresses and strippers trying to make a quick buck.

If the seedy side of you cares to relive the Tigerdrama, you might want to give The Swinger a chance, wondering while you’re reading it how much of the book strayed from the actual truth.   Just be sure to ask yourself how bad you should feel about having the desire to know.

19 thoughts on “Book Review: The Swinger by Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck

  1. Pingback: Sports Chump » Book Review: The Swinger by Michael Bamberger … | ReviewTica

  2. Woods was enabled by his fellow professionals on the Tour . But the player himself bears the biggest blame of all in thinking that he could get away with the bs ! So that’s what a Stanford gets you ? Become a blithering idiot by ostensibly blaming everyone else for his own sexual proclivities ! To this day his apology was about as contrite as KKK member trying to suggest he doesn’t hate all minorities .

    Shame about the tragic death of St Pete/Clearwater resident ….. race car driver Dan Wheldon ! He meant a great deal to the community not just a celebrity but also as a great local and national philanthropist .

    .

    So the Bucs take down the Saints was some ease . To me the NFC South now has to be the most competitive division in the NFL ……bar none ! The NFC East allegedly has the glamor teams but there’s no way in hell the teams there can match their Southern division counterparts in quality of play and competitiveness !

    tophatal …………………

  3. Another controversy and travesty takes places within the boxing ring and this time not only are both fighters (Chad Dawson & Bernard Hopkins) to blame but also the referee and the judges . And people still feel that this sport is relevant on the landscape ? In what universe ?

    tophatal ………….

  4. Al…

    Tiger’s not the only Stanford alum in the news lately. How about Harbaugh yesterday? I’ll have a piece up on that little scruff tomorrow.

    I hate to say this but you might be right about comparing the NFC East and South. Nobody in the East can seem to get it together, while the Falcons, Bucs, Saints and Panthers are all pretty damn good.

    Great win for the Bucs yesterday and Cam Newton continues to show why the Panthers drafted him at number one. They should be good for some time to come and promises to be a healthy rivalry between two young, divisional quarterbacks with him and Freeman.

  5. Tiger Woods?? Are you still really talking about that mutt? What’s the matter, aren’t there any Brett Favre stories going around?

  6. LN…

    If that’s the case, I picture a dimly lit adult theater with E sitting in the seats gratifying himself as he always does to Tiger.

    Sorry, people, but it’s true. E has a Tiger fetish.

  7. Chris

    If Jim Schwartz is so aggrieved by Harbaugh patting him on the back then wouldn’t he have been better served if the Lions had won that game ? Now you understand why I didn’t jump unto the Detroit Lions’ bandwagon ? They had yet to be tested at all this season but yet they were fans drooling over this team as if they were world beaters . This Lions roster hasn’t done anything as of yet , so let’s step backing from crowning their a_s for a while ! .

    The fight was declared a 2nd round TKO favoring Chad Dawson after he picked up B Hop and literally threw him to the canvas thereby dislocating his ( Hopkins ) shoulder . WTF ! Hopkins wanted to continue but the referee decided to call the fight and the judges were in agreement with his thinking . Frig#ing California State Athletic Commission is a joke along with the WBC and IBF ! All three bodies are being ran by a bunch of sycophants and _###ing idiots ! Is it any wonder the sport has the odor of a used feminine hygiene product !

    The NFC South is the division everyone ought to watching because in all likelihood there’s a chance that two if not three teams could possibly make it out of the division and into the postseason .

    Cam Newton is good there’s no denying that but the fans might not be patient enough unless they’re seeing a gradual improvement from the team . It’s all well and good to say they’re playing well but their 1-5 record doesn’t actually reflect that . If you can’t close out the close games then you deserve the fate you’re left with , which is the resulting loss !


    tophatal
    ………….

  8. Al…

    I still think the Lions play tough. They aren’t that far away from becoming a dangerous playoff team.

    I totally missed that fight. Insanity! Who does Dawson think he is? Clubber Lang?

    There’s still plenty of season left to play, Al, but I’m certainly glad the Bucs have an early division lead. They’re going go to need it by the time they head to Atlanta and New Orleans.

  9. Didn’t even hear about this book. I guess I’ll skip it, since like you said we already lived it.

    Is there any Stevie W references?

  10. For those of you too young to remember the Jerry Glanville/Chuck Noll encounter postgame handshake, Sunday was kiddy time. Noll squeezed so hard Jerry still has pains today. Scolding JG for some bush league play.

    BTW, those close to the race car circuit here in LV are really taking yesterday’s tragedy hard.

    Chris here is your latest DWTS odds as of 10/16/11:

    JR Martz -8/5(odds on)

    Solo 9/1

    RLake 3/2

    DArq 30/1

    Chaz 30/1

    Kressley 100

    Kardshn 60

    NGrace 125

  11. RB…

    Same on this end with Wheldon. He was a St. Pete resident and well-loved in the area. Horrible story.

    Jimmie Johnson didn’t remain all that silent about the incident. Did you hear his comments about Indy cars on oval tracks?

    Okay, that’s enough NASCAR talk.

    FYI, I did hear Merrill Hoge on ESPN yesterday talking about that Glanville/Noll incident.

  12. Now De La Hoya and B Hop who co promoted the fight through Golden Boy Promotions have said they’ll take legal action against the California State Athletic Commission if the bout verdict isn’t overturned . I say who gives a rat’s a_s to begin with !

    The Lions are only dangerous as long as Best , Megatron and Stafford are healthy . As of now are you a betting man who believes that the qb can stay healthy given his proclivity for going down to innocuous injuries ?

    The Bucs exposed that Saints’ defense as flawed and who couldn’t defend themselves against a dose of the cl_p !

    Dropped my piece on the NFC South as well this past weekend NFL schedule . Sorry ’bout your Gators ? They’re looking bland and horrible !

    tophatal ………….

  13. Al…

    Just another blemish for professional boxing. What else is new?

    Re: The Lions, would you say they definitely will NOT win a Super Bowl within the next five years? I may want to place a wager on that, if so.

    We all knew the Saints defense was suspect, Al. That’s not how they win.

    Be right over to check out your latest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*