“Joe Wessel has a special relationship with his father. That relationship is the heart of this book.”—Jack Nicklaus
Augusta National is golf’s Holy Grail. Navigating the azaleas to play the exclusive course that hosts The Masters is a pipe dream for every golfer. Imagine being afforded the opportunity not only to play the course, but to be able to bring your father along for the ride. To complete the priceless fantasy, Jack Nicklaus—“The Golden Bear”—hosts the round.
Through fate, coincidence and good fortune, Joe Wessel managed to find a way to make that happen. In White Fang and The Golden Bear, Wessel recounts that special round, how it came about, and what happened on the pristine grounds of Augusta National. With the help of veteran sportswriter Bill Chastain, Wessel's memoir offers the touching story of how the game of golf helped in the development of a special father-son bond and how that relationship grew first throughout Wessel’s childhood, then during his tenure as a football player-turned-coach, and finally once he was a dad himself.
This book offers the perfect father-son story for any sports aficionado!
“My father gave me the ultimate lesson on how to be a leader through the discipline he dispatched and by the way he lived his life. Watching him and listening to him gave me an understanding of passion and hard work. You have to be an example to the people you lead. I have strived for that in my coaching career, in my business life, and in my personal life.”
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About the Author
Joe Wessel is a former defensive back at Florida State University. He holds FSU and NCAA records for blocked kicks in a game(2) and in a season (5), as well as the most touchdowns scored off blocked kicks in a game (2). Wessel was an assistant football coach for 13 years, at the college and NFL levels. He was the Florida president for HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation and is currently the SVP and National Sales Manager for Raymond James Bank. Joe is an avid golfer and winner of the Outback Pro-Am in 2005. He is married to Mary Gayle Hamilton and has two sons, Trent and Parker. Wessel currently resides in Tampa, Florida. He can be found at Whitefanggoldenbear.com.
Bill Chastain began his journalism career as a freelance writer shortly after graduating from Georgia Tech in 1979. Chastain is the author of Payne at Pinehurst: The Greatest U.S. Open Ever; Steel Dynasty: The Team That Changed the NFL; and Hack's 191: Hack Wilson and His Incredible 1930 Season.
Table of Contents
Foreword Jack Nicklaus v
Chapter 1 Anticipation 1
Chapter 2 Louis Joseph Wessel 3
Chapter 3 Off to War 7
Chapter 4 Home, and Broadway 14
Chapter 5 Nicklaus and White Fang Come to Be 20
Chapter 6 Exposure to Golf and on to Team Sports 26
Chapter 7 Alcoholics Anonymous 34
Chapter 8 Hanging with the Miami Dolphins 37
Chapter 9 High School to Prep School 44
Chapter 10 FSU Early Years and the Golden Bear's Son 58
Chapter 11 Fired as a Junior 68
Chapter 12 Golfing with the Golden Bear's Son and White Fang 75
Chapter 13 Block That Kick! 79
Chapter 14 Coaching Decision 90
Chapter 15 Looking for Work and Finding a Girl 93
Chapter 16 Notre Dame 98
Chapter 17 Coping and Overcoming 108
Chapter 18 On to the NFL 117
Chapter 19 Out of Coaching 131
Chapter 20 Rediscovering White Fang 140
Chapter 21 East Lake, then First Taste of Augusta National 146
Chapter 22 Golfing with the Golden Bear at Augusta National 153
Chapter 23 Papa Joe's Final Years 165