Moment of Glory: The Year Tiger Lost His Swing and Underdogs Ruled the Majors by John Feinstein
|Moment of Glory: The Year Tiger Lost His Swing and Underdogs Ruled the Majors by John Feinstein|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A very readable look at golf in 2003 when virtually unknown golfers won the four Majors. Entertaining and informative.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: June 2010|
Despite the picture of Tiger Woods on the dust jacket this book is only incidentally about him. Between 2000 and 2002 Woods had dominated top-class golf, winning six of the twelve majors. But he's always after improvement and he sacked his swing coach and turned to someone new. The swing is the engine of a golfer's game and tinkering with a good swing has major implications. For Woods it meant that he floundered out of the big money in 2003. For everyone else it meant that there were chances to be taken. You might have expected that it would be the established stars who took advantage, but it wasn't to be.
The four majors – the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA – in 2003 were all won by golfers who had never won a major before. Ben Curtis, Mike Weir, Jim Furyk and Shaun Micheel sprung from obscurity to the top of the game. Unfortunately it was not to be the beginning of top flight careers for them, as they've had only limited success since and neither Micheel nor Curtis has won another Major and Weir had only one more win – in 2004.
The format of the book is simple and very readable. Feinstein looks at each major and gives us a flavour of the tournament and the location where it's being played. He knows his stuff and there's a marvellous sense of listening to someone who knows what he's talking about rather than reading an author who's crammed in every bit of research he's done. He's an insider – and it shows. We then meet the players, taking a look at their background and success (or lack of it) in top rank golf before the major. It's telling that at least one of the men who was to win a major couldn't have been picked out at a line-up by other players before the event.
Then we look at the tournament. It's not a ball-by-ball commentary, but a retelling of the main events which is sufficiently detailed to satisfy the golf aficionado, yet still accessible and enjoyable for the more casual reader. What I found fascinating was the insight into the players' thought processes. I'd fondly imagined that they would concentrate on getting the ball into this particular hole, but there are considerations of how their score might place them within the field and whether the risk of a particular shot might be worthwhile if it increases their winnings and allows them exemptions into better tournaments in future. Fascinating.
Then, of course, there's the effect of having won a major and the way in which your life changes, the fact of having Masters Winner almost as part of your name rather than Unknown Aussie or something similar. There's also having to cope with not doing it again, your relationships with the fans and the game itself.
It's a very enjoyable book. I finished it in two sittings, occasionally being unwilling to stop reading, despite knowing how a particular tournament would work out. I'd minor niggles – such as the fact that Feinstein twice refers to American players' reluctance to come to the UK because of the need to drive on the right-hand-side of the road (hint: if you're coming to the UK, don't try it) but this is more than offset by the fact that there's just the one passing reference to the what seems to be the main golf story in 2010 – the turmoil in Tiger Woods' private life.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals to you then you might like to try The Marvellous Mania: Alistair Cooke on Golf. For an autobiography of someone who never did win a major have a look at The Real Monty by Colin Montgomerie. If you'd like some golf fiction then we can recommend The Back Nine by Billy Mott.
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