In 1913, British golfer Harry Vardon, the Tiger Woods of his day, encountered an unexpected roadblock to winning the 1913 U.S. Open: an unknown 20-year-old American amateur named Francis Ouimet. Nobody was more surprised than Ouimet himself: The former caddie from the wrong side of the tracks had entered the match mainly to catch a few glimpses of Vardon, his hero. Instead, the young Massachusetts golfer matched Vardon and his British colleague Ted Ray stroke by stroke, round by round. At the end of 72 holes, the three golfers were tied, necessitating a playoff. Award-winning writer Mark Frost tells the story of "the greatest game ever played" as it's never been told before.
Anyone who loves gold, history, or just a great story will relish this wonderful book.
I am a traditionalist and if you are a traditionalist, you will enjoy this book. It will give you great insight into how golf got its start in America, and the man who really introduced golf to America: Francis Ouimet.
Put on a pair of soft slippers and get into your favorite chair. You are about to drift back to the era of gutties and wooden shafts. Mark Frost made me sit down and stay put as golf history comes to conversational life in this very entertaining book.
This is one of the best sports books I have ever read. If I had known there was this much excitement in golf I would have started playing earlier.
The story of the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline needed to be told again, especially today, and Mark Frost has done a wonderful job of capturing the moment of golf's awakening in America. His work is thoroughly researched and he has brought out the characters splendidly as well as the excitement of young Francis Ouimet's victory.
Compelling . . . a fascinating story.
Jumps off the page and demands to be read.
Francis Ouimet's showdown with Harry Vardon was a watershed moment that changed the face of golf. At least this remarkable story has been give the epic treatment it so richly deserves.
An absolute must-read for anybody who loves history and golf.
A dramatic tale of sportsmanship, grace and history with a conclusion worthy of a thriller.
Tells this story at the perfect pace.
New York Times Book Review
Scottish Golf's book of the year. . . A great story.
This first nonfiction effort by Frost, who is a novelist (The List of Seven), television producer (Twin Peaks) and scriptwriter (Hill Street Blues), deftly tells the story behind the legendary 1913 U.S. Open, in which Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old golf amateur from Massachusetts, shocked the genteel golf world by defeating British champion Harry Vardon, the most famous pro golfer of his time and the inventor of what today is still considered the modern grip and swing. Frost knows he has a good story and manages to touch on all the right elements of the plot: Ouimet and Vardon not only represent two different social worlds and two different generations, but also share a number of key personal facts and traits. Ouimet was "the boy-next-door amateur, young and modest and free from affectation," while Vardon was the consummate professional whose record of six British Open victories has never been matched. Yet Frost superbly shows how both shared a steely drive to succeed that helped Vardon overcome a long bout with tuberculosis and Ouimet to overcome a working-class background in which golf was seen (especially by his father) as a wealthy man's game, the perfect example of the evils of capitalism. Frost beautifully weaves history into his narrative, clearly showing the long-term impact this duel had on the game and how it helped propel the U.S. Open into the arena of world-class golf. Frost's final chapters on the last two rounds of the 1913 Open have all the page-turning excitement of a blockbuster novel. (Nov.) Forecast: A major publicity push from Hyperion-as well as a first serial in Sports Illustrated-should insure strong sales. Film rights have been bought by Touchstone Pictures. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
An award-winning TV writer (Hill Street Blues) turned novelist Frost (The Six Messiahs, 1995, etc.) proves just as skilled at nonfiction in his affectionate recreation of the dramatic 1913 US Open Golf Championship. Beginning with interwoven biographies of Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet, Frost slowly builds to the dramatic finish at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Born on the Channel Island of Jersey in 1870, Vardon had won five British Open titles by 1913. He had contracted tuberculosis in 1903, but returned to top-level golf despite neurological damage in his right hand caused by the disease. With a demure, stay-at-home wife and a brother gone to America, Harry battled loneliness. On this side of the Atlantic, 20-year-old Ouimet was the Massachusetts state amateur champion and had been a caddie at the Country Club; his invitation to the Open was unexpected. The long, wonderful second portion of the story dramatizes the exciting week in September when Vardon, Ouimet, and others battled for the coveted title. Frost paints a lively supporting cast. Ouimet’s mother, brother, and sister were supportive, but his father had no truck with the silly game. English newspaper publisher Lord Northcliffe was blatantly nationalistic. Bernard Darwin, the scientist's grandson, found his niche as a first-generation golf journalist. Ted Ray, a big bear of a man, punched out a fellow English golfer before joining friend Varner and Ouimet in a three-man playoff. Walter Hagen was the first American playboy golfer, and ten-year-old caddie Eddie Lowery almost stole the show with his pugnacious confidence and sage advice for Francis. The shot-by-shot account of the 18-hole playoff captures theexcitement of the day with its appreciation of the subtle shifts of the game and of the beauty of the Country Club. Throughout, Frost demonstrates a detailed knowledge of the different rules, equipment, and terminology used in 1913. Striking photographs complement the first-rate narrative. Captivating entertainment. (26 b&w photos, throughout) Film rights to Touchstone Pictures; first serial to Sports Illustrated