5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Greatest Golf story Ever Told, 8 Sep 2009
Reading this extraordinarily moving tale during the week of the Tom Watson's heroic challenge for the Claret Jug at Turnberry reminded me of sport's capacity to inspire. At a time when the papers are full of rugby cheating scandals, cover-ups and drug issues, this wonderful book made me remember why we bother.
Cook's great skill is not just as a storyteller - although he tells a great story movingly and humorously, without overdoing the sentiment. This was an age of deep rooted class prejudice that prevented a genius like Old Tom from ever being truly accepted amongst the St Andrews gentlemen; something that drove his son to distraction and, sometimes, trouble.
This is an important book because Cook explains the legacy of the founding father and son. Old Tom was a wonderful player bedevilled by an unreliable putting stroke, but he was an innovative and imaginative greenkeeper and course designer whose legacy lived on through his inspiration of a young student who learnt under him - Donald Ross, who went on to build so many of the great courses in America and did so much to popularise the game.
Young Tom's was a different but no less worthy legacy. His playing achievements alone (winning the championship belt outright, becoming the first man to win the claret jug, covering the 12 holes of Prestwick in an unheard of 47 shots) secured his place in the pantheon. But it strikes this reader that his real legacy was that he virtually invented the concept of the touring professional, breaking down class barriers and blazing a trail that travels all the way to Tiger Woods.
This is the kind of book that makes me wonder if we need to put in in the sports section at all. It is ultimately a life-affirming tale that finds, in the long life of a father and the brief but stellar life of a son, deeper truths. It is a great story that immortalises great men. A fantastic book and, in the present climate, timely.