THE GREEN by Troon McAllister


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A laugh-out-loud take on big-time golfing, as a small-time hustler more than holds his own against the egos, bank balances, blood feuds, and beer guts of international pros. After seedy southern Florida golf hustler Eddie Caminetti uses his con-man skills, as well as his superbly controlled golfing technique, to pick the pocket of seasoned pro Al Bellamy, Bellamy invites him—begs him—and then bribes him (with $100,000) to join the 12-man all-star team representing the US against an elite troupe of Europeans for the Ryder Cup. Bellamy hopes that Caminetti’s uncanny ability to read a player’s weakness and play against it will give the Americans an edge in this biennial contest—which, unlike traditional competitions, in which players score against the course, forces some of the world’s most fiercely independent, conceited, and downright crazy athletes to score as a team. Though narrator Bellamy is supposed to be in control, Caminetti, a street-smart Joe Pesci type, quickly takes over, besting whiz kid Derek Anouilh (a stand-in for Tiger Woods) in a qualifying match by flattering the boy. He also saves the team from the embarrassing entreaties of a drunken pro, plots group strategy, takes on an overweight L.A. ghetto kid as a caddy, and delivers numerous golf-is-life wisdom speeches when antagonisms between players bubble to a boil. Newcomer McAllister makes the intricacies of the game exciting, even thrilling, as he contrasts Caminetti’s hardened pragmatism with the ridiculous behavior of the pros, asking whether, in this most tedious of sports, it’s skill or personality that ultimately wins the game. When Caminetti apparently makes a lucrative side-bet with the Europeans that might compel him to betray his team, Bellamy has to question the point of winning in pro sports: Is it about the money, the fame, or the quiet satisfaction of hoodwinking your opponent? A breezy clubhouse yarn that works as a meditation on competition and intense insiderdom: rollicking fun.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1999
ISBN: 0-385-49459-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999