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Contents Chapter One Benevolent Dictator Chapter Two "I Just Figured Cliff Had Never Been a Child" Chapter Three Beginning Chapter Four Augusta National Invitation Tournament Chapter Five "The World's Wonder Inland Golf Course" Chapter Six Cattle, Turkeys, and Prisoners of War Chapter Seven General Ike Chapter Eight Television Chapter Nine Roberts's Rules Chapter Ten Inside, Outside Chapter Eleven Monuments Acknowledgments Index Photo Credits
David Owen is a staff writer for The New Yorker, a contributing editor of Golf Digest, and the author of My Usual Game.
Revered today as the most prestigious and tradition-rich tournament in American golf, the Masters, like the Augusta National Golf Club at which it is played, sprang from humble beginnings. As every ardent golf fan knows, Augusta National was the brainchild of legendary golfer Bobby Jones Jr., who teamed with stockbroker Cliff Roberts to build what is considered to be the cathedral of American golf courses on the site of a former flower nursery in Georgia. What is less well known is that financial problems nearly prevented the course from ever being built, and that Roberts conceived of the Masters as a way to promote the club, which was having trouble attracting members during the Depression. In describing the growth of the tournament, New Yorker staff writer Owen (My Usual Game) centers his story on Roberts, the hard-driving "benevolent dictator" who served as chairman of both the Masters and Augusta National from their inception until he committed suicide in 1971 at age 77. Owen portrays the often controversial Roberts in the most favorable light possible. In particular, he defends the Masters' (and by extension Roberts's) record of not having the first black golfer participate in the tournament until Lee Elder broke the barrier in 1975. Indeed, Owen treats everything connected with Roberts and the Masters in reverential terms, dismissing critics as ill informed. Despite this shortcoming, Owen has unearthed enough details and colorful anecdotes about the tournament and its playersÄboth on the course and behind the scenesÄto make this nearly irresistible reading for devoted golfers and weekend duffers. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
The Wall Street Journal Owen makes us wish we had known Roberts, if only to judge him for ourselves -- no small achievement. He writes beautifully...meandering through the familiar byways, enveloping us in the Augusta-ness of it all. Jaime Diaz New York Times Book Review Owen accomplishes something...important and long overdue in this sometimes revelatory work -- Clifford Roberts is humanized.
Founded by golf legend Bobby Jones and his friend Cliff Roberts, the Masters has been held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club (GA) since 1934. Owen, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a contributing editor for Golf Digest, adeptly recounts the history of the tournament many consider golf's premier event. Although Jones has generally been given much of the credit for the tournament, Roberts was actually the driving force behind its creation and ultimate development into a major sports event. Often portrayed by golf historians as an uncompromising perfectionist, Roberts is here given a much more balanced treatment. Referring to archival material and the memories of club members, Owen dispels many of the popular myths about both Roberts and the tournament. Owen is also the author of My Usual Game: Adventures in Golf (Main Street, 1996). Recommended for all public libraries.ÄPeter Ward, Lindenhurst Memorial Lib., West Islip, NY