Royal and Ancient: Blood, Sweat, and Fear at the British Open [NOOK Book]

Overview

For a century and a half, the best golf players in the world have, once a year, attempted to beat the weather, the pressure, and one of the toughest courses in the world at the British Open. In Royal and Ancient, Curt Sampson, the bestselling author of Hogan and The Masters, draws a definitive and affectionate portrait of this legendary tournament, with a fascinating narrative of both its rich history and its exciting present.

The thread of ...
See more details below
Royal and Ancient: Blood, Sweat, and Fear at the British Open

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

For a century and a half, the best golf players in the world have, once a year, attempted to beat the weather, the pressure, and one of the toughest courses in the world at the British Open. In Royal and Ancient, Curt Sampson, the bestselling author of Hogan and The Masters, draws a definitive and affectionate portrait of this legendary tournament, with a fascinating narrative of both its rich history and its exciting present.

The thread of Royal and Ancient is the 1999 cham-pionship--the most astonishing four days in British Open history. Sampson follows individual players as they meet the gut-wrenching challenge of the links at Carnoustie: the icy classicist, Steve Elkington; the good-looking bon vivant, Andrew Magee; the struggling hopeful, Clark Dennis; Zane Scotland, the youngest Open qualifier in history. Sampson is  there for Jean Van de Velde's dramatic collapse on the final day, probing both Van de Velde and his caddie for their emotional insights. He gets inside the heads of stars and journeymen, caddies and groundskeepers, and shows how they prepare and how they think as the tournament pro-gresses, from the qualifying rounds to the practice sessions, all the way through the play-off on the final day.

Beyond his excellent reportage, Curt Sampson captures British Open history as it's never been captured before. With an insider's knowledge and expertise, he draws us into the rare-fied atmosphere of tradition and myth, telling the amazing--and sometimes heartbreaking--stories of past champions, of triumphs and tragedies, of deaths and ghosts. We hear the unexpectedly poignant story of one of the early greats, Tommy Morris, the invincible champion of the 1860s and 1870s, and explore the loyal Scottish fascination with the legendary Ben Hogan. The reminiscences of past and current participants combine with the behind-the-scenes stories of everyone from the club superintendent to the local pub owners to give an intimate look at this unique tournament.

In his book The Majors, John Feinstein called Curt Sampson's The Masters the best book ever written about that Augusta event. Now, in Royal and Ancient, Sampson cracks the inner circle of another remarkable major to provide this fascinating and truly all-embracing view of the British Open.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307800909
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/6/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 334,374
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Curt Sampson (left, with James "Tip" Ander-son, "the greatest caddie in Scotland"), a former profess-ional golfer, is the author of six other books, including The Eternal Summer, Hogan, Full Court Pressure, and The Masters. Sampson lives in Bristol, Texas, with his wife and two children.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Two sets of footballs pounded the weathered wooden planks of the North Berwick dock. The son first, a young man in a tam, whose untamed brown mustache matched the ruddy weave of his tweed jacket. A heavier, slower tread followed, the sturdy boots of the father. Golfers. Their loose clubs clattered onto the deck of a waiting fishing boat; golf bags weren't much used in 1875. They climbed aboard, and someone untied the mooring rope and threw it over the gunwales. Sun shot through the clouds of the short, early September afternoon, summer's end in Scotland, and the water sparkled on the Firth of Forth.

In legend, the son rowed alone across the wide bay in a tiny skiff. In truth, with a word and a look the older man procured the fastest sailing vessel in port for the hasty voyage north to St. Andrews. Old Tom Morris had clout. And he had a secret.

Earlier that day, a messenger had worked his way through the spectators at North Berwick links and solemnly handed a telegram to Mr. Morris, Sr. A big match was on: the Morrises versus Willie Park and his brother Mungo. Should Old Tom interrupt the competition to tell Tommy, his son and partner, the awful news? No. Tom Morris let the match play out; better to maintain the happy illusion for a few minutes more. Better to pretend that he and Tommy, the best golfer in the world, would still take on any comer for all the pounds and pence in Scotland. To pretend that shops would close when they played, wagers would be laid, and drink poured afterward in celebration or commiseration. That proud rivals like the Parks boys would always appear, each opponent an inspiration.

The Morrises beat Willie and Mungo, one-up. Then the father said, "We must go, Tommy. Your wife. We've no time for the train."

The ship slipped across the firth on its hasty voyage, and still Tom Morris did not reveal the telegram's contents. Perhaps he perceived a hidden brittleness in his son's strength, and suspected that the news would ruin him. Perhaps at that moment he himself felt the stinging remembrance of Tommy's older brother-also named Thomas-who had died at age four.

So Old Tom waited a while longer, playing away from trouble as usual. His calculating style had won him a life of employment in the game he loved, and four of the first seven Open championships. The limber shaft on his driver bent like a willow switch, providing snap to his cautious swing. He smoked a pipe. As he aged, short putts began to bother him mightily, and Tommy teased him about it: "If only the hole was always a yard closer, Da," Tommy said, "ye'd be a good putter."

The son followed him into the family business, but plainly he was not his father. He was even better. Eighteen-year-old Tommy entered the Open as a professional in 1868, looking like a boy-soldier from the just-completed American Civil War, unshaven, roughly dressed, and unimpressed. A tough customer was Tommy, always on the attack. He played chicken with bunkers and burns, the flamboyant, never-in-trouble style of the brilliant putter. "Dook!" Tommy would command as his ball rolled near the hole, and usually it dooked right in. And Lord, was he strong. As his contemporary Horace Hutchinson wrote, "Young Tommy Morris used to waggle his driver with such power and vehemence in his young wrists as often to snap off the shaft of the club close under his hand before he even began the swing proper at all."

Tommy won the Open in 1868, and the next year, and the next. In an odd compliment to his dominance, no tournament was held in 1871. Mr. Fairlie, the one-man band who ran the event, had died. No one burned with sufficient curiosity to reidentify the champion golfer of Scotland and the world--obviously, it was Tommy-so the Open took the year off. Besides, Fairlie had retired the victor's prize-a red leather belt with a big buckle, like a rodeo cowboy's. By prior agreement, anyone winning the event three times in a row got to keep it. Embossed on the silver clasp of Tommy's new belt were two bagless caddies, their gentlemen's clubs clamped beneath the armpit.



The Open resumed in 1873, with a cup for a prize this time, and Tommy won for the fourth consecutive time. The early Opens descended from the archery tournaments that had been held in Scotland and England for centuries, and the Morris men were Robin Hood and Robin Hood, Jr. Young Tommy and Old Tom even finished one-two in the race for the belt in 1868 and 1869. Glory days.

Now, abruptly, about to vanish.

"Tom did not tell his son that all was over till they were walking up from the harbour," recalled his pastor. "I [will] never forget the young man's stony look ... and how, all of a sudden, Tommy started up and cried, 'It's not true!' I have seen many sorrowful things, but not like that Saturday night."

Margaret, Tommy's young wife of less than a year-"a remarkably handsome and healthy young woman, most lovable in every way"-had died that afternoon giving birth to a boy. Another Tom Morris. The infant had also died.

Tommy never recovered. For the next few months he wandered the echoing stone streets of St. Andrews in a depressed trance. Golf held no allure. He'd never been a drinker, but now he drank. Induced to play with his father in a match against two aspirants at the end of October, Tommy fell apart. Four-up with five to play on their home links, the Morrises lost the last five holes, and the match.

Tommy played again in foul November weather, giving shots to a Mr. Molesworth. Rain and cold descended on them, and the champion built a big lead. But Molesworth would not quit the scheduled marathon until the last putt was holed, and Tornmy lacked the assertiveness to say "To hell with this." He caught a cold.

A week before Christmas he took the train to visit friends and pubs in Edinburgh, returning to St. Andrews after dark on Christmas Eve. Tommy scuffed the few blocks from the train station to his parents' narrow two-story stone house overlooking the green at the home hole. His invalid mother, Nancy Bayne Morris, was still up; they chatted for a few minutes. Then he called good night to his father and retired. At ten o'clock on Christmas morning Tom went to wake his son. But Tommy never woke.

Due to the suddenness of his death, the pathologist at the Cottage Hospital in St. Andrews performed an autopsy. "Burst artery in the right lung," he announced, but probably it wasn't that simple. Modern physicians surmise that depression and whiskey had compromised Tommy's immune system. The air cells in his lungs, the alveoli, had likely become hard and inflamed. He had pneumonia, in short, and couldn't breathe. Depression reduced his body's ability to fight the infection.

Yet none of the arid medical explanations contradicts the myth of Young Tom's passing: he died of a broken heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2000

    Sampson's Best Yet

    Mr. Sampson has given the forest of golf literature some of its tallest timber, and Royal & Ancient is one mighty Sequoia. He captures the tension, trauma, triumph and tragedy of a major championship as no one before him. If you enjoyed The Eternal Summer, Hogan or The Masters, you will positively LOVE Royal & Ancient.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)