PLAYING THROUGH: Behind the Scenes on the PGA Tour by William Wartman

PLAYING THROUGH: Behind the Scenes on the PGA Tour

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Only golf fans who want their heroes modest and their game immune to the whiff of lucre will be offended by this gleefully ironic account of ""the Disneyland of sports,"" the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour. Wartman, a journalist who wrote the anguished memoir Life Without Father (1988), covered the tour in 1988. His chronicle is on the surface a tournament-by-tournament recap of the quest for Jack Nicklaus' old mantle as ""the greatest golfer in the world."" Affecting an arch, omniscient tone faintly reminiscent of Tom Wolfe, Wartman concentrates on the egos, public-relations posturings, animosities, and self. doubts of such linksters as Curtis Strange, Greg Norman, Sere Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, Jeff Sluman, and Mike Reid. His prose takes on extra snap, though, when he widens his focus to the gallery hoping to make a bundle off this most white-bread of sports: the ""player-management colossus"" called the International Management Group, corporate promoters, local boosters, sports psychologists, course designers, even an inventor of a video device called Swing Check. Not everyone is happy with the influx of money during the reign of marketing-oriented PGA Commissioner Deane Beman: Nicldaus, writes Wartman, thinks it dulled the competitive drive of American pros, ""while their hungry European and Australian counterparts came over and won many of the most important matches."" Though without major revelations about either the business or personalities of golf, Wartman's account still avoids the hazards of fan idolatry and bounces merrily to its conclusion.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow