Renowned novelist and screenwriter Mark Frost turns his eye for golf to an event so famous that it’s grown to the stuff of legend. In 1956, a casual bet between two millionaires eventually pitted two of the greatest golfers of the era—Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan—against top amateurs: Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi. Frost recounts this dramatic tale from start to finish, detailing the match that vaulted golf out of the shadows and into the national spotlight.
"Frost has a penchant toward the florid, but he captures an elusive magic in this improbable matchup and what it meant for those who played and witnessed it." (Publishers Weekly)
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Transported to another world
When the match that forms the core of this book occurred, I was a week from my fourth birthday and eight years away from the beginning of my interest in golf. This enthralling book traces the personalities and progress of what became one of golf's epic moments, and, as the author stresses, the event that provided the transition from golf's domination by the gentlemen amateurs to the astonishing wealth enjoyed by today's touring professionals. For those who play golf and who have an interest in the game's development in America, a phenomenon barely more than a century old, this book leads its readers or listeners inside the ropes at some of the earliest tournaments when the participants played for the joy of the game for there were not many economic advantages at that time. But more than a book about golf, as with Mark Frost's outstanding The Greatest Game Ever Played, this book explores the intersections between the nascent sport and the American milieu in which it struggled to gain a foothold. From the economics, politics, and social stratification of the Gilded Age to the impact of television advertising on the wealth of today's players (Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson each earned a total of half a million dollars in their entire careers, far less than the top prizes at single professional tournaments today), this book provides an understanding of the labors of those players in the first half of the 20th century as the foundation on which players like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods built professional golf into the financial juggernaut it has become.
Not to be overlooked is the excellent appendix that provides a history of the Monterey Peninsula, the place where The Match occurred and which most who visit it understand is its own little world. The history of Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive as well as the development of each of the Monterey communities, like Pacific Grove and Carmel, whets the appetite to visit for the first time or to return for subsequent experiences.
The writing is vivid and the narration by Richard Poe is again outstanding. He is a consummate story teller and has the ability to make the characters live in the mind's eye. The book and the audio production are both outstanding in every respect and well worth the time spent in listening. Highly recommended!
- Amazon Customer
- Doug Killebrew