Best-selling sportswriter Feinstein (Running Mates, 1992, etc.) turns his attention to a new sport, golf, with this...


A GOOD WALK SPOILED: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour

Best-selling sportswriter Feinstein (Running Mates, 1992, etc.) turns his attention to a new sport, golf, with this chronicle of a year on the men's pro tour. Golf is, by its very nature, a brutally winnowing game (as Tom Boswell once observed), a mental test as well as a physical one. At the professional level, as practiced on the PGA Tour, it is the last bastion of true athletic individualism; you win or lose because of your own efforts, with no teammates or coaches to blame. Moreover, in order to make any money at all on the pro tour, you have to play well. Unlike tennis, there are no appearance fees, and you have to survive the cut after two days of a tournament to collect a check. Therefore, there is a certain amount of inherent drama in the lives and games of the pros. Feinstein has chosen wisely in his subjects, a wide range of successful and not-so-successful players, from Davis Love III, who overcame memories of his father's death in a plane crash to score the decisive victory for the US in the Ryder Cup, to Paul Azinger fighting cancer. Some of the best moments in the book, however, are provided by lesser-known golfers like Brian Henninger and Paul Goydos, who are struggling just to stay on the Tour. Feinstein isn't the best prose stylist or the most poetic or humorous sportswriter in America; what he does better than anybody else is to make you understand the complex mix of psychology, group dynamics, and political pressures that make athletes tick. Although too much of the second half of the book turns into a monotonous replaying of individual rounds of golf, for the most part A Good Walk Spoiled (Twain's description of golf) is an insightful look at one of our best games. It's not A Season on the Brink, but even baseball stalwarts languishing for a sports fix might find this compulsively readable.

Pub Date: June 5, 1995


Page Count: 496

Publisher: "Little, Brown"

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995