THE MASTERS: 101REASONS TO LOVE GOLF'S GREATEST TOURNAMENT, by Ron Green Sr.; Stewart, Tabori& Chang, $18.95
This is an article from the April 8, 2008 issue
FIRST SUNDAY INAPRIL: THE MASTERS, foreword by Don Wade and introduction by Brad Faxon;Sterling Publishing, $19.95
How do we love theMasters? Ron Green Sr., the longtime golf writer for The Charlotte Observer,counts 101 ways. Presented in no particular order, Green's "reasons"are the result of more than 50 pilgrimages to Augusta National and togetherform a likable thin volume of affectionate prose and photography. Some of theobjects of Green's affection are obvious: Gene Sarazen's double eagle (number13), the green jacket (22), Amen Corner (27), Jack Nicklaus's win in 1986 (67)and Tiger Woods's romp in '97 (99). Some are more obscure: The course's servingas a farm during World War II (19), Bobby Jones's emotional final round in 1948(21), skipping tee shots across the water at the 16th during practice rounds(31), the Crow's Nest (48) and the fact that 1967 champion Gay Brewer onceparked cars at the tournament and '87 winner Larry Mize once worked the leaderboard (91). Overall, 101 Reasons makes for a lovely soufflé—warm, light andfluffy.
By comparison,First Sunday in April: The Masters could have used a bit more time in the oven.The problems start with the title. First Sunday? That's when the Tour is inHouston. Masters Sunday is always the second Sabbath of the month. Moreregrettable are some of the selections in this anthology. (Although, anyanthology is long overdue.)
There arefirst-rate entries, such as Herbert Warren Wind's 1958 classic from SI, inwhich he christened Amen Corner, and Dan Jenkins's knowing "The Masters ItsOwnself." Also included are a nice column on caddies by Dave Anderson andworthy reminiscences from the autobiographies of Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, ArnoldPalmer, Lee Trevino and Ken Venturi. Unfortunately, the majority of thematerial is unexceptional contemporary reportage. Where is Grantland Rice? AreJim Murray, Charles Price and Red Smith not worthy? Was there no room for thewicked Brits—Peter Dobereiner, Henry Longhurst and Pat Ward-Thomas? How couldJohn Updike's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Masters" miss thecut?
There are noegregious bogeys in First Sunday, only a lot of grinding pars when birdies werethere to be had.