Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour

Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour

by Shane Ryan


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Slaying the Tiger, one of today’s boldest young sportswriters spends a season inside the ropes alongside the rising stars who are transforming the game of golf.

For more than a decade, golf was dominated by one galvanizing figure: Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. But as his star has fallen, a new, ambitious generation has stepped up to claim the crown. Once the domain of veterans, golf saw a youth revolution in 2014. In Slaying the Tiger, Shane Ryan introduces us to the volatile, colorful crop of heirs apparent who are storming the barricades of this traditionally old-fashioned sport.

As the golf writer for Bill Simmons’s Grantland, Shane Ryan is the perfect herald for the sport’s new age. In Slaying the Tiger, he embeds himself for a season on the PGA Tour, where he finds the game far removed from the genteel rhythms of yesteryear. Instead, he discovers a group of mercurial talents driven to greatness by their fear of failure and their relentless perfectionism. From Augusta to Scotland, with an irreverent and energetic voice, Ryan documents every transcendent moment, every press tent tirade, and every controversy that made the 2014 Tour one of the most exciting and unpredictable in recent memory.

Here are indelibly drawn profiles of the game’s young guns: Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish ace who stepped forward as the game’s next superstar; Patrick Reed, a brash, boastful competitor with a warrior’s mentality; Dustin Johnson, the brilliant natural talent whose private habits sabotage his potential; and Jason Day, a resilient Aussie whose hardscrabble beginnings make him the Tour’s ultimate longshot. Here also is the bumptious Bubba Watson, a devout Christian known for his unsportsmanlike outbursts on the golf course; Keegan Bradley, a flinty New Englander who plays with a colossal chip on his shoulder; twenty-one-year-old Jordan Spieth, a preternaturally mature Texan carrying the hopes of the golf establishment; and Rickie Fowler, the humble California kid striving to make his golf speak louder than his bright orange clothes.

Bound by their talent, each one hungrier than the last, these players will vie over the coming decade for the right to be called the next king of the game. Golf may be slow to change, but in 2014, the wheels were turning at a feverish pace. Slaying the Tiger offers a dynamic snapshot of a rapidly evolving sport.

Praise for Slaying the Tiger

“This book is going to be controversial. There is no question about it. . . . It is the most unvarnished view of the tour—the biggest tour in the world—that I’ve ever read. And it’s not close.”—Gary Williams, Golf Channel

“A must-read for PGA Tour fans from the casual to the most dedicated . . . This book is certain to be as important to this era as [John] Feinstein’s [A Good Walk Spoiled] was two decades ago. . . . A well-researched, in-depth look at the men who inhabit the highest levels of the game.”—

“A masterfully written account of an important time in golf history.”—Adam Fonseca, Golf Unfiltered

“Absolutely marvelous . . . Ryan’s writing flows and his reporting turns pages for you.”—Kyle Porter, CBS Sports

“A riveting read.”—Library Journal

“Ryan’s fresh look is just what we golfer/readers want.”—Curt Sampson, New York Times bestselling author of Hogan

“Ryan does a fantastic job painting a thoughtful and accurate portrait of the new crop of heirs apparent.”—Stephanie Wei, Wei Under Par

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390681
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Edition description: New
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 594,942
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Shane Ryan has written about golf, college basketball, and baseball for various outlets, including ESPN The Magazine, Golf Digest, Deadspin, and Grantland. He also writes about music, film, and TV for Paste magazine. He grew up in Saranac Lake, New York, went to school at Duke University, and now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Emily.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

November 11, 2013 The Mysterious Frenchman

1 Antalya, Turkey: Victor's Sunday 3

February The West Coast Swing

2 Pacific Palisades, California: The Two Bubbas; Riviera and the Rise of the Second Wave 13

3 Tucson, Arizona: Jason Day and the Never-Ending Mountain; The Match Play Championship 36

March One Month in Florida

4 Palm Beach Gardens, Florida: Russell Henley, Rory McIlory, and the Moving Needle; The Honda Classic 63

5 The Villain: Patrick Reed 71

6 Doral, Florida: The Cadillac Championship; Tiger and the Top-Five Kid 95

7 Orlando, Florida: Bay Hill, or Matt Every Is Sweating 103

April the Holy Land

8 The Masters; Jordan Spieth, the Great White Hope 119

9 A Few Thoughts on Augusta National 146

10 One Last Moment at Augusta 155

11 New Orleans, Louisiana: The Loneliness of Seung-Yul Noh; The Embattled Keegan Bradley; A Showdown In Big Easy 157

May The Southern Pass

12 Charlotte, North Carolina: Derek the Fluke 175

13 Ponte Vedra, Florida: Fifth Major or First Minor?; Jordan, Martin, and the Third Wave 184

14 Fort Worth, Texas: Tiger Relinquishes Number 1; Adam Scott, the Aussie King of Texas 202

June America's Major

15 Beyond the Brand: Rickie Fowler 219

16 Pinehurst, North Carolina: The U.S. Open; Cruel & Unusual Punishment at the USGA;

Martin's Run; Restorations 234

17 Bethesda, Maryland: Congressional; Tiger's Return, Jason Day's Dystopia; Reed and Rose 250

July A British Midsummer

18 Hoylake, Merseyside County, England: Royal Liverpool and the British Open; Biased Wind, Slanted Rain; The Rory Wave 259

August Last Chances

19 Akron, Ohio: Dustin Johnson's Black Friday 287

20 Akron, Ohio: What Do You Do with a Problem Called Sergio?; Jason Dufner Chucks His Putter; Rory-Sergio II: The Bridgestone Duel 300

21 Greensboro, North Carolina: Intolerable Cruelty at the Wyndham 316

22 Louisville, Kentucky: The PGA Championship; The Great Schism and a Crisis of Identity; Valhalla's Bad Rap; The New King 323

September A Final Push

23 East Lake, Georgia: The FedEx Cup Playoffs: The Rise of Billy Horschel; Rory and Billy at the Tour Championship 347

24 Wentworth, England, and New York, New York: The Captain's Picks 360

25 Antibes, France: The Real Dubuisson 369

26 Auchterarder, County of Perth, Scotland: The Ryder Cup; An American Course in Scotland; McGinley's Ascension; The Gutting at Gleneagles; A Tale of Two Captains; The Mickelson Rebellion 382

October and Everything After

27 Seasons Change 409

Afterword 411

Acknowledgments 423

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Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely worth a read if you are a golfer, a PGA fan or just a fan of gripping sports writing!
R- More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining and well written. The author clearly did his research, the book is very insightful. Highly recommend to anyone even slightly interested in golf.