Professional golf is among the most intimate of sports. Only a thin rope separates the players from the fans. Yet the reality is that the rope is a substantial barrier that permits only a glimpse of the world of professional tournament golf. John Strege, author of Tiger: A Biography of Tiger Woods and Golf Digest writer, takes you through a high-pressure week on the PGA Tour, providing a vivid portrait of what the professional golfer experiences each day of tournament week.
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There are seven days in the golf week, but the fans are usually privy to just the four of competition. In Tournament Week, John Strege cuts down the ropes and invites us in for the other three as well, providing an all-access pass to sport's best traveling circus.
A tournament week is indeed a circus. From the moment the players arrive--some in private jets, though Greg Norman occasionally shows up in his private yacht or his private helicopter--and are given the keys to their courtesy cars and condos, appearance fees (against Tour rules), and other perks such as cell phones, on-site massages, expenses for spouses, and free child care, the fun begins. Cocktail party receptions on Monday. Heavy wooing from equipment representatives. (If you play the game, you'll love the detailed look into what players carry in their bags.) Practice rounds (with some heavy gambling, also against Tour rules) on Tuesday. The Wednesday pro-am, which the pros detest, unless one of their high-paying partners can offer some good business or investment tips. Then, of course, there's the pressure of tournament golf itself.
Rather than chronicle a single tournament week, Strege fills Tournament Week with tales old and new, naming names and places, some bathed in good light--Tiger Woods falling asleep holding his new green jacket after winning the Masters--while others--Woods, a few months later, throwing a small tantrum after the first round of the '97 U.S. Open--show some dirt. There's priceless stuff here for golf aficionados, such as John Daly tanking a round so he could go home after taking a big appearance fee, Jack Nicklaus's requirements for his custom-built clubs, club pro Scott Spence carrying his father's ashes in his golf bag when he qualified for the '99 PGA, Lanny Wadkins mistakenly throwing his PGA winner's check in a Pebble Beach fireplace, and David Duval's propensity to celebrate victories with a sip from a $1,500 bottle of Louis XIII cognac. Given today's exorbitant prize money, endorsement and commercial fees, and under-the-table appearance checks, the real surprise of Tournament Week may be that Duval's taste is that inexpensive. --Jeff SilvermanAbout the Author:
John Strege has covered professional golf for the past fifteen years.His biography of Tiger Woods, Tiger, was made into a TV movie for Showtime.He is an editor for Golf Digest, and a senior writer for Golf World.He lives in Vista, California, with his wife, Marlene, and their daughter, Hannah.
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