Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While it isn't quite the literary equivalent of a hole-in-one, this fast-moving golf fantasy about an amateur golfer who decides to try out for the PGA Senior Tour has enough sweetness and humor to overcome its obvious plot clichs. Middle-aged and happily married, Travis McKinley does the unthinkable: he misses Christmas dinner after getting caught up in a divinely inspired streak of great putting during an outing on the country club course in Winnetka, Ill. As Travis's obsession with his newfound talent takes over his life, his obstetrician wife, Sarah, expresses increasing dismay over his inability to grow up, a domestic crisis that reaches a boiling point when Travis loses his job and journeys to Tallahassee, Fla., to try to qualify for the Senior Tour. Competing against overwhelming odds, Travis earns a place on the tour, only to have his dream spoiled when he learns that Sarah intends to file for divorce. As he continues to compete against the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino, the victory that will fulfill Travis's dream and reunite him with his family is as improbable as it is inevitable. Plot issues aside, Patterson (whose newest thriller is Jack and Jill) and de Jonge succeed admirably in creating a winning character who is enough of a child to believe his dreams and is also mature enough to offer some gently humorous reflections on our national obsession with an engaging sport. Christmas shoppers take note: vigorous, straightforward prose and solid characterization put this second golf fable of the season in a far different league from the mystical, romantic The Legend of Tommy Morris.
Think of this short novel by best-selling thriller writer Patterson (Hide & Seek LJ 12/95) and journalist de Jonge as a cross between It's a Wonderful Life and a masculine version of Sleeping Beauty. On Christmas Day, Travis McKinley is playing golf when suddenly he acquires perfect vision for the putt. In a zone, he plays brilliant golf and misses Christmas dinner with his family, where things are already rocky. The wife he adores wants to leave him, and he doesn't know why, although it may be because working 30 years in an advertising job he hates has strangled his growth and enthusiasm. When he's fired, he is liberated to see whether he really can play professional golf. Travis qualifies for the Professional Golfers Association Senior Tour, and it changes him and his family forever. Buy this for all the middle-aged male golfers who still have the spark of a dream left in them, as well as for those who've given up.Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Iowa
Chris Nelson - Calgary Sun
"Miracle on the 17th Green is...where miracles can happen to those who learn to dream again."
"There are many among us who see golf as a healer of the soul and Miracle on the 17th Green, is a wonderful example of how uplifting that belief can be."
Nichol Ruth - The Evening Post (Wellington)
"Even if you don't know a birdie from a putter you can still enjoy this sweet tale of a middle-aged golfer's extraordinary blossoming."
Bill Ott - BookList
"Patterson and coauthor de Jonge add a new twist by melding a golf story onto a sentimental Christmas fable. The resulting plot is sort of Rocky Does the Senior Tour with just a hint of It's a Wonderful Life."
From the Publisher
"A fast-moving golf fantasy."Publishers Weekly
"Miracle on the 17th Green is...where miracles can happen to those who learn to dream again."Chris Nelson, Calgary Sun"
Even if you don't know a birdie from a putter you can still enjoy this sweet tale of a middle-aged golfer's extraordinary blossoming."Nichol Ruth, The Evening Post (Wellington)"
This is a hopeful little gem, and you don't even have to like golf to enjoy it."BookReporter.com"
A cross between It's a Wonderful Life and a masculine version of Sleeping Beauty."Library Journal"
Patterson and coauthor de Jonge add a new twist by melding a golf story onto a sentimental Christmas fable. The resulting plot is sort of Rocky Does the Senior Tour with just a hint of It's a Wonderful Life."Bill Ott, BookList
Patterson and coauthor de Jonge add a new twist by melding a golf story onto a sentimental Christmas fable. The resulting plot is sort of Rocky Does the Senior Tour with just a hint of It's a Wonderful Life.
"This is a hopeful little gem, and you don't even have to like golf to enjoy it."
Miracle on the 17th Green is...where miracles can happen to those who learn to dream again.
Even if you don't know a birdie from a putter you can still enjoy this sweet tale of a middle-aged golfer's extraordinary blossoming.
The Evening Post (Wellington)
Read an Excerpt
Miracle on the 17th Green
By James Patterson Peter de Jonge
Back Bay Books Copyright © 1999 James Patterson
All right reserved.
Chapter One It was Christmas morning and a balmy 38 degrees. In other words, a perfect day for golf, and there I stood on the semifrozen mud of the 17th tee at the Creekview Country Club in Winnetka, Illinois.
My marriage was disintegrating. My three kids, whom I love more than life itself, didn't know what to make of me lately, and I had a terrible feeling that come January, I was going to be fired from my job at Leo Burnett. Who knows, if everything went as badly as it possibly could, there was a chance I might be one of the homeless after that.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
I bent down, teed up an old scuffed Titleist, and squinted through the wind at the long tight par 5, lined on both sides by towering black leafless elms.
Now what follows is one of those mystical, largely unexplainable, out-of-body experiences, so please bear with me. Or as Fin Scully used to say at the start of his golf telecasts, pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. I admit that in sheer unlikelihood, this probably ranks right up there with Truman upsetting Dewey, It's a Wonderful Life, and John Daly winning the British Open.
What can I say? Stuff happens to people. Tragedies befall saints. Fortune smiles on cretins. Extraordinary things happen to ordinary people. And this happened to me.
Since it is such a crucial number in this story, I should point out that I was starting my round on 17. Despite the unseasonable thaw, it was Christmas, the course was empty, and 17 just happened to be the tee closest to where I parked. Anyway, I knocked the cover off my drive.
Nothing unusual about that. I hit the ball farther than the pro here at Creekview. I even hit the ball farther than the current champ, Mark Duffel, who's twenty.
I trudged down the fairway, nudged my ball away from a sprinkler head, and hit my second shot, a 185-yard, 5-iron, stiff. Suddenly, I was feeling better. To hell with my problems. Golf can have that effect.
Now, here comes the weird part. This is where everything gets a little spooky, and I took my first step on this road-either to salvation or damnation.
I stroked that putt so clean and solid.
I put such a pure sweet roll on it, the ball traveled over the grass like a bead of mercury rolls across the floor after you break a thermometer.
The beginning of a miracle. A harbinger. A sign.
The little white ball dropped into the little white cup for eagle.
I was hooked.
I was elated.
I was doomed.
I must tell you right now however, that this isn't the so-called Miracle on 17. Not even close.
I hurried to the next tee.
Excerpted from Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson Peter de Jonge Copyright © 1999 by James Patterson . Excerpted by permission.
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