In John Feinstien's A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour
, someone asks Faldo, after his final round in the PGA, if his failure to win a major last year was a problem with his putter.
"The problem, " Faldo said, "was with the puttee."
If you've ever shanked a two footer, or taken a divot out of the green, you'll know something of what he was talking about, but for a fully textured understanding of this most cerebral of games, John Feinstein's best-selling account of the 1994 US PGA Tour is essential reading.
Feinstein sets himself the task of appreciating the game through an understanding of the man attached to the club shaft, and his studies of John Daly and Nick Faldo, in particular, are wonderfully observed and rendered.
Daly, and the drink, drugs and violence with which he was living, had a deep and lasting impact on the professional game in 1994 and beyond. He made excellence and achievement at golf look brutal and ugly, and the American public, who like to see a little blood and sweat for their money, loved it. The genteel narcissism that had been the spirit of the tour for so long dissolved in his wake.
Faldo, silent, brooding and an obsessive deconstructor of golf swings and mindsets, cuts a very different figure and Feinstein's book is one of the most complete studies of this extraordinary sportsman ever written. For Faldo and Daly, more than most, the golf course became a public arena for a personal struggle. Each round of golf was a journey into inner space.
Fortunately, there are lots of amusing and revealing anecdotes to accompany the psychological analysis and we are largely spared ramblings of the "humanity-in-every- bunker-shot" kind.
Feinstein's succinct style reflects this commitment to clarity, making this a readable and definitive work on the subject of man's pursuit of the small, round ball. --Alex Hankin
The golf book of the season...his dissection of the pressures of life where the cost oe one fluffed shot can be counted in tens of thousands of dollars will provide a salutary check to the dreams of a legion of club golfers. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Feinstein is a brilliant reporter, a remorseless digger for information with a gift for establishing affinities with golfers reputedly reluctant to bare their souls ... There is an excellent profile of Tom Watson, which pumps blood into that enigmatic figure, and no better observation of Nick Faldo's obsession with the game has ever been written ... The professional golf circuit is now a manic, driven circus and Feinstein, without plunging into tabloid mire, has captured it in a sweeping canvas ... A stunning documentary on the modern professional game (Ian Wooldride in THE GUARDIAN
Excellent. (DAILY TELEGRAPH
A sparkling account... If you only read one sports book a year, this is the one. (THE ECONOMIST
Worthy of a place in the front rank of sports books ... So thorough that you can almost see the golfer's spike marks on each page (THE TIMES
Highly recommended (SUNDAY TIMES
Feinstein gets right inside the mindset, capturing the insularity, the comradeship and the little barbs of bitterness. The catty relationship between the superstars of golf and the workaday professionals who make up the supporting cast on the tour provided splendid material ... A wonderful portrait of a professional sport and a swathe of American society (IRISH TIMES
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