The long, short, good and bad of a golf sportswriter’s days on the links.
Sport’s Illustrated’s Bamberger knows how to tell a story, and he displays no fear of sentimentality. He has a bag’s worth of good tales, with days spent on the links as a caddie, player and reporter. They start, briefly, as he plays his home turf on Long Island, then shift to his improbably fortuitous and short-lived run as Brad Faxon’s caddie. Realizing that he would never make a living as a bag-carrier, Bamberger turned to journalism and covered golf from the sidelines. He writes about Arnold Palmer’s dentist using his old gold fillings as ball-markers, the imbroglio between Mark McCumber and Greg Norman, discrimination at Augusta and the beauty of playing among the dandelions, boulders and sheep on a sublime, neglected Scottish course. That same course introduces readers to a Scottish master who reminds Bamberger that golf is, in fact, a game. Of what Americans brought to it, the Scot says: “You showed us that there’s money in golf. That had never occurred to us. The money has corrupted us, all of us, myself included.” It proves an illuminating observation: When Bamberger writes of Jean Van de Velde’s costly play on the 18th hole of the British Open, he can understand when the golfer talks first about family and health.
Golf got under this author’s skin from an early age, and while there’s no question of his becoming a touring professional, he loves the game from the inside out, and his facility with a pen lessens his handicap.