SI: Did you know that last year Sports Illustrated named Golf in
the Kingdom the most overrated golf book of all time?
This is an article from the Nov. 11, 2002 issue
MM: Yes. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, I could agree with
the author, but we would be in the minority. Most people love the
book. It has sold about a million copies.
SI: You're used to the abuse?
MM: Oh, God, yes. For 30 years the book has sailed through strong
headwinds of criticism, but it sails on.
SI: Why the negative reaction?
MM: A lot of people have not had the mystical experiences
[described in the book], so it's strange, unfamiliar territory.
They feel these experiences I write about do not happen. But
they're simply wrong. I've been hearing about them for 30 years.
SI: Were you on some kind of mind-altering substance when you
wrote the second half of the book?
MM: No. Tommy Smothers once said he had read that part straight,
drunk and stoned, and it didn't make sense any of the three
SI: Do enough golfers cultivate the mind?
MM: If more did, they'd have more enjoyment and they'd play
better. There is a resistance in human nature to change.
SI: How's your game these days?
MM: I gave it up for a while, but I played last Friday for the
first time in a couple of years. I didn't play very well.
SI: Does shooting a good score matter to such an enlightened
MM: [At 72] I'm grateful I can finish nine holes without breaking
SI: Clint Eastwood owned the film rights for years. Will we ever
see a movie version?
MM: I have the rights back. I'm working on a screenplay. We want
to cast it with unknown actors in Scotland, Ireland and England.
But who knows? It's an elusive project.
SI: You published a sequel, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, in 1997.
Is that it?
MM: I'm writing a prequel. I don't know if I'll ever publish it.
I'm describing what was going on with Shivas before Murphy
appeared on the scene.