JUST A RANGE BALL IN A BOX OF TITLEISTS by Gary McCord

JUST A RANGE BALL IN A BOX OF TITLEISTS

On and Off the Tour with Gary McCord
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A popular golfing iconoclast uses (and abuses) his ``unique'' vantage point as tour player and broadcaster to hold forth on all aspects of life on the links. McCord has gained the reputation as the golfing fraternity's wild man, a sort-of Howard Stern of the links, if you will. Currently prohibited from broadcasting at the Masters for an off-color remark he made about the greens at Augusta, his irreverence has gained him many devotees--and almost as many detractors. Here McCord is generous (often to a fault) with his opinions about the game. While his expertise, gained through nearly a quarter-century on the tour as both player and analyst, is practically above reproach, it's his inconsistent approach-- alternately erudite and folksy, sometimes technical, other times emotional--that is wearisome and often downright annoying. A good example of this is his celebration of the booze-soaked exploits of a tour player named J.J. in a chapter lying practically cheek-to-jowl with the cautionary tale--purportedly fictitious--of another player, this time hooked on illicit substances, whose life careened wildly out of control. McCord sounds off on a diversity of topics and his celebrated good humor often shines through, particularly when he's describing the ``ExWives Conflict,'' a tournament pitting former spouses against each other, or analyzing the skills of celebrity players ranging from Gerald Ford to elder shock-rocker Alice Cooper to basketballer Michael Jordan (whose devotion to the game, McCord writes, ``has helped lift golf to new corners of our social map'') to Jack Nicholson, Sly Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger--hapless duffers all. McCord also takes a few much-needed jabs at his sometime television colleague, the pompous, lesbian-bating Englishman, Ben Wright (whom McCord, for once at a loss for words, calls ``the bane of my existence''). It's good to read about someone having fun with (and at the expense of) a leisure time activity that many take too seriously. However, McCord seems too taken with his bad-boy image to bring many readers in on the joke. (First printing of 125,000; first serial to Golf Digest; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-399-14233-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997