Summary and book reviews of The Majors by John Feinstein

The Majors

In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail

By John Feinstein

The Majors
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  • Hardcover: Mar 1999,
    472 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2000,
    255 pages.

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Book Summary

The four tournaments known as the majors-the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship-are the absolute pinnacle of golf, competitions played at a level of pressure guaranteed to give even the greatest golfers the shakes. The 1998 majors were no exception, and they produced indelible moments: Mark O'Meara capturing two titles and making a strong run at a third, Lee Janzen having his lost ball drop out of a tree at the U.S. Open, Brian Watts making an amazing bunker shot on the final hole of the British Open, Vijay Singh banking his shot off a tree on Sunday at Sahalee.

But for each of those cinematic moments, there are hundreds more that are equally powerful but virtually unknown. In The Majors, bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein accompanies a dozen top golfers as they play these tournaments, revealing what it is that makes them so demanding-and what it takes to win such exalted prizes. He takes us onto the courses and into the back rooms to show us how decisions are made on what players will be paired together and where the holes will be placed on different days-including the disastrous hole placement that caused such outrage at the U.S. Open.

Most of all, The Majors shows us the greatest golfers of our time under the greatest pressure they ever experience-how Payne Stewart manages to sleep when he has the lead at the U.S. Open, how Mark O'Meara paces himself for a masterful Sunday, how John Daly deals with frustration and maintains his sobriety. Just as he explored the daily demands of a year on tour in his bestseller A Good Walk Spoiled, John Feinstein here reveals how champions get their putters back when the championship is on the line. Written with the absolute authority of a master of his subject, The Majors will fascinate and amaze anyone who thinks they know the game of golf.

1.
Playing for History

Shortly before 6 o'clock on a sun-splashed April Sunday in Georgia, David Duval walked across the narrow stone bridge named in honor of Gene Sarazen that leads to the 15th green at the Augusta National Golf Club. Everywhere Duval looked, he saw people. Augusta's 15th is one of golf's great theaters. There is water in front of the narrow green and behind it too. Huge loblolly pine trees, one of Augusta's signatures, line the right side of the hole, and there is a grandstand to the left of the green between the putting surface and the 16th tee. When the players cross the Sarazen Bridge, they are only a few feet from the grandstand, walking in the afternoon shadow that it casts. Each player receives a resounding ovation as he passes, the shouts and cheers growing a little louder as the day wears on.

 

Duval's golf ball was sitting on the front of the green, about 18 feet from the flagstick. He had hit his second shot there, an ...

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Media Reviews
The Wall Street Journal - Jay Nordlinger

The Majors is not a history. Rather, it is another Feinsteinian work of journalism, a study of the 1998 season with an emphasis on the four most significant tournaments. Mr. Feinstein has made a specialty of delving into the lives of a select group of players and drawing a portrait of a particular world. In this, he has no peer.

Publishers Weekly

Comprehensive and immensely enjoyable, Feinstein's latest will provide veteran golfers an appreciation of how the sport is played at its most exalted level, while giving even those whose only putts have come on Astro Turf an understanding of what all the fuss is about.

Reader Reviews
Anonymous
Eli Asch
In The Majors Feinstein tell the history, politics, and tradition behind golf's four most important tournaments. A joy to read for golf fans, fanatics, and even for those who just flip through the channels and happen to stumble upon the ...   Read More

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