The 1960 U.S. Open


 This gripping account of the 1960 US Open performs the near-impossible feat of making golf exciting and relevant even to those who have never picked up a club. Golf in 1960 was at an uneasy crossroads, poised between a past featuring great players who toiled in relative anonymity and a future of mass popularity fueled by promotion-savvy professionals. Played at the Cherry Hills course in the thin air of Denver, this Open featured such greats as Ben Hogan and ``Slammin' '' Sammy Snead (said to be the greatest golfer never to win the US Open), as well as near-greats and exciting journeymen, such as Billy Casper, and an unassuming but enormously talented 20-year-old Ohio State student named Jack Nicklaus. Most attention focused on Arnold Palmer, the '58 Open winner and the runner-up in '59, who, at the peak of his career, was accompanied at every move by a traveling gallery of fans the press had dubbed ``Arnie's Army.'' Going into the Open, Palmer was the bettors' favorite, but after the first two rounds, he sat far back in 15th place, eight strokes off the pace. The press, and even the ``Army,'' not yet fully acquainted with Palmer's grit and poise, had all but written off the star. But a furious charge during the third and fourth rounds netted Palmer one of the most satisfying and spectacular victories of his storied career, leaving him two strokes ahead of Nicklaus and four up on Hogan, who faded badly in the heat. Graubart skillfully toes the line between assuming too much or too little about the reader's familiarity with golf--which should be great comfort for readers who don't know what a ``mulligan'' is and are afraid to admit it. A terrific read for golf fanatics, for those just turning to the game, and for fans of all sports. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-55611-489-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1997