A Mulligan for Bobby Jobe

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Bobby Jobe is a pro golfer whose swing is better than his attitude. When he bogies the last four holes and blows his lead in a major tournament — again — he berates his caddy, Henry "Greyhound" Mote. Jobe loses both Greyhound, who walks off the course, and the game.And before the day is out, he'll lose his eyesight to a lightning strike and his future in golf — unless he can do what no one has ever done blind: make a comeback. Bob Cullen's funny and wise story, full of PGA lore, perfectly captures the mysterious ...
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Bobby Jobe is a pro golfer whose swing is better than his attitude. When he bogies the last four holes and blows his lead in a major tournament — again — he berates his caddy, Henry "Greyhound" Mote. Jobe loses both Greyhound, who walks off the course, and the game.And before the day is out, he'll lose his eyesight to a lightning strike and his future in golf — unless he can do what no one has ever done blind: make a comeback. Bob Cullen's funny and wise story, full of PGA lore, perfectly captures the mysterious and irresistible nature of the game of golf, not to mention, love, friendship, and life.
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Editorial Reviews

Authentic . . . Entertaining, quirky . . . always fun.
Houston Chronicle
Thoroughly entertaining . . . a cleverly told story about second chances.
Golf magazine
Authentic . . . Entertaining, quirky . . . always fun.
Kirkus Reviews
A wonderfully entertaining tale about second chances in life, a game almost as hard as golf. And few bitten by the bug would find that an untoward construction, certainly not Cullen's heroes: long-hitting golf pro Bobby Jobe and long-put-upon Henry Mote, his caddy. Though their styles differ sharply, both are flawed creatures, and both—at the outset of the story—are about to face a grim string of double-bogeys: supertalented Bobby because he's simply not serious enough, self-effacing Henry because he's never dared to value himself sufficiently. On the 15th hole of the last round of the PGA Championship, Bobby—distracted by a busty blond—loses a two-stroke lead and the services of his disenchanted caddy. Henry returns to Allegheny Gap, Virginia, home of the nine-hole course built by his father. He tries to keep busy, tries not to watch golf on TV since it makes him miss the Tour too much. In the meantime, disaster catches up with Bobby. He's struck by lightning and permanently blinded, after obstinately ignoring warnings to duck out of a thunderstorm. Eight months pass. Enter Angela Murphy, a young woman hired as a rehab specialist who's convinced true rehabilitation can happen only if Bobby plays golf again. She wants Henry to be his eyes. At first, the notion is abhorrent to both men, but Angela, as sweet-natured as she is iron-willed, persists. They try, they fall short; Henry will place a ball awkwardly, Bobby will over- or under-swing; they'll want to quit, but little by little the task works its magic—and in the process is fully recognized as the metaphor it is. For the converted, certainly, though this warm, funny, poignant tale full of people tolike and aspirations to admire could well earn former Newsweek correspondent Cullen (Why Golf?: The Mystery of the Game Revealed, 2000, etc.) his first large audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786195916
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Bob Cullen is a former international correspondent for Newsweek and the author of four acclaimed thrillers, including the New York Times Notable Book of the Year Soviet Sources. More recently, he has written Why Golf?: The Mystery of the Game Revisited and coauthored a bestselling series of books about the mental side of the game, starting with Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


We were leading the PGA Championship by two strokes when he started seeing all the wrong stuff.

I read that sentence now and I know it's a cliché. Caddies say "we" until the player messes up. Then it's "he.'

I was a caddie. That's how I thought.

The fifteenth hole on the West Course at Oak Valley Country Club is a long, dogleg right par four, 463 yards, with a fairway that slopes from right to left. Palmer took a triple there one of the years he blew the PGA.

It's got an elevated tee and the grass was wet because of an earlier thunderstorm. I damn near slipped and fell flat on my face as I humped Bobby's bag up the slope. He was five paces ahead and he didn't notice.

What he did notice, unfortunately, was a blonde in a peach-colored shirt and shorts who was standing just the other side of the ropes along the right side of the tee. She was the kind of woman you often see around golf tournaments and golfers. Everything matches — the clothes, the lipstick, the shades, the shoes, the toenail polish. They're not teenyboppers anymore, maybe got a first marriage behind them, but they're fighting time in a gym and they got the sleek little butt to prove it. This one did. Her name was Lane, or Blaine, or something — one of those family names that rich girls often get instead of something common like Jane or Peggy. I think Bobby met her at one of the pretournament cocktail parties. I don't know if he'd gotten to her at that point but her body language was saying she'd sure as hell give it up for a PGA champion.

I could've walked up behind him, plucked him on the sleeve, and said,"Bobby, you're in the last round of the P-G-goddam-A and you're in the lead and you've just got to play four solid holes to win the thing and there's fifteen thousand people watching you to say nothing of the little guy from CBS with the minicam and the microphone right behind us and you're technically still married and so why don't you start thinking with your head instead of your dick and play some golf?"

But I didn't. Wouldn't've done any good.

He'd've just gotten ticked off and said something like, "Greyhound, why don't you shut the hell up and go dean the grooves on my seven-iron?"

So I just stood there and watched Leonard up ahead of us sweat out his club selection. First he took a long-iron, then a five-wood, then a wedge, and then he reached down and plucked some grass and watched it flutter straight down. Wind didn't matter anyway. The only thing that mattered was I couldn't see Leonard's ankles, the rough was so high. The smart play was to chop it out of there with a wedge. Leonard is a smart player; he did. Then Faxon, who was twenty yards longer than Leonard, had to hit.

I wiped the sweat off my forehead with the towel I used to dean Bobby's golf balls and took a little Powerade from the big canister by the side of the tee and cut it with water. Stuff tastes terrible, but it was a hot day.

I don't know how you manage in this humidity with that big bag," said the lady who was walking with us, keeping score. She was an older woman name of Florence, with steel-gray hair that was somehow still dry despite the muggy air. Her skin had that kind of slightly loose, slightly wrinkled nutty brown texture that you see on women of a certain age who play a lot of golf. But you could tell she'd been pretty once, so I flirted with her.

I treat my body like a temple," I said.

She had the grace to laugh. She could probably smell the beer and the hamburger grease coming out my pores. I was twenty-eight years old at that time, but my insides felt like fifty-eight.

Finally, Faxon hit up toward the green, turned the corner of the dogleg, and disappeared. Bobby strolled back to the bag. I looked down the fairway — a tight little ribbon of crosshatched emerald flanked by thick, forest-green rough. Spectators and oak trees lined the hole on both sides, and the low, gray-black clouds overhead completed the frame. But I was looking at the two bunkers on the inside corner of the dogleg, 280 yards out, and thinking, Let's stay out of those; and let's stay out of the rough.

I fingered Bobby's three-wood and pulled it halfway out of the bag. He had a nice little cut shot with the three-wood that went about 260 yards and that's what I wanted him to hit, short of the bunkers, out of the rough. Leave us a smooth four-iron up to the green and two putts. You're leading by two at the PGA with four to play, pars are like found money.

But Bobby said, "Gimme the driver."

It was Blaine or Lane or whoever she was, that was for sure. The long drive is the big penis of golf and Bobby wanted to show her his.

I almost argued with him, tried to talk him into the three-wood. But I didn't. I'd learned a long time before that it didn't help. Bobby would've taken the driver anyway. Then he'd've stood up to the ball and thought, Jesus. Greyhound doesn't think I can hit this club. That's not what you want your player thinking on his backswing.

So I said, "Good. Shade it a little left of center." I handed him the dub.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2003

    A great idea, but...

    From reading the jacket, it sounds like it will be a truly moving story. And the author even does a great job of setting up the possibility, but...nothing happens. Cullen sets up the characters for hugh drama, and then chooses to just have them avoid a clash. Second, the story is told entirely through the eyes of the main character (not the title character). This would be fine if there were in depth discussions with the other characters, but this does not happen. Thus you get to know the main character very well, but no one else. The sad fact is, it could have been a great novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    "You Don't Have To See It To Tee IT"

    Imagination, Adventures in Darkness. The sighted world can only imagine what it's like to be born blind or lose your sight during life's wonderful journey. Having read Mr. Cullen's great novel and shared his work with golf professionals, sight specialist and educators at blind schools from Florida to California, I can honestly say that "Bob Cullen has written a book that will stand the test of time". We have already contacted The Library of Congress to have this book done on tape and in braille. Bob, on behalf of the United States Blind Golf Association we want to thank you for stirring the imagination of children and adults that golf truly is a game for everyone. Joe Mc Court Director Junior Golf, USBGA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2001

    A Bogey for Bob Cullen

    The lightening bolt hitting a GOLFER'S upturned club on the cover is the worst nightmare in GOLF. Next, the very clever title sums up the book's premise perfectly by giving a mulligan, GOLF'S version of a second chance, in real life to GOLFER Bobby Jobe after he's blinded. And, as I appear to be the first to report, Bobby's last name obviously refers to Job, who was tested by God in the Bible. Both Jobe and Job passed their respective tests after leading hedonistic and selfish lives, although I think it must be harder to play GOLF blind than it is to endure all those biblical horrors. And finally, the book is about GOLF. Bill Clinton could write a book on GOLF etiquette and ethics, and I'd read the damn thing. I wasted a beautiful Sunday afternoon watching those no-name GOLFERS fumble their way through the last round of the U.S. Open long after Tiger had fallen from contention. Tiger was on his way back to Orlando in his private jet after he finished his fourth round early. He was probably playing Nintendo, but I was still watching GOLF. This is all to say that Bob Cullen starts off with three stars in this review because of the GOLF aspect of his book. And I'm giving him one more star for keeping GOLF at the center of his stupid little story. But Bob, listen to me. You've tarnished the sacred game of GOLF with trailer trash situations, an unbelievable premise, a dumb romance and ridiculous subplots. You start with a mystical bolt of lightening and end with an earthquake. Aren't you a little heavy on the symbolism? I know, I know, I know. You got this lightening bolt thing from 'The Natural,' right? Did you know that this great book by Bernard Malamud had dark undertones, with the hero actually throwing the big game in the end? Anyway, I'm talking here about the movie, which took the high road that you missed. You start and end 'A Mulligan for Bobby Jobe' with beautiful symbolic and mystical acts of nature. But in between there's lots of good, old-fashioned garbage. Bob, you mix the mystical with the banal in your book. How about a little consistency? You know and describe GOLF as well as anyone, but you're not good at writing Harlequin novels. Go high or go low. Your game is all over the place. Stick to your knitting. You abruptly change gears from your mystical start into 300 pages of hillbilly shenanigans, trailer trash situations and municipal GOLF course nonsense. Then, you weave a love story into your plot with Greyhound, that dolt who caddies for Jobe. Let's face it, Bob, Greyhound missed the bus. You write nearly 400 pages and Greyhound scores a few kisses from Angela, the angel who's babysitting Jobe? A few kisses?!? This is 2001, Bob. Someone should score in this book, and I'm not talking about a great round on the GOLF course. What, you're trying to write a fairy tale? Don't tell me you're taking the high road here, Bob, since you sure throw around the profanities and try to expose the underbelly of the PGA Tour. All your little subplots detract from the main premise of the book, which is redemption. But you sure tie up all those distracting tangents. Does the blind Jobe return to the PGA Tournament, how does the odious Little Dickie do in the big event, does Greyhound get the girl, what happens to that ridiculous municipal course back home, how is the long-departed and insane father dealt with (his muttering about Ben Hogan get old real fast, by the way), does the mother avoid the creepy car dealer, etc. I've never seen so many loose ends tied up so efficiently. If only real life was that tidy. Hey, Bob, you're a GOLF expert. Stick to what you know and avoid what you don't. Leave the cheap romance novels to authors who don't understand GOLF. Go high or go low.

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