A Golfer's Life: Arnold Palmer

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9780712679268: A Golfer's Life: Arnold Palmer
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There has never been a golfer to rival Arnold Palmer. To the legions of golf fans around the world, Palmer is a charismatic hero, the winner of sixty-one tournaments on the PGA Tour and still going strong on the Senior PGA Tour. But behind the legend, there is the private Palmer--a man of wit, compassion, loyalty, and true grit in the face of personal adversity.

Writing with the humor and candor that are as much his trademark as his unique golf swing, Palmer narrates the deeply moving story of his life both on and off the links. He recounts the loving relationship he shared with his father, "Deacon" Palmer, the course superintendent and head professional at the Latrobe Country Club where young Arnie developed his game, his friendships and rivalries with golf greats, his enduringly happy marriage with Winnie, his legendary charges to triumph and titanic disasters, and his valiant battle against cancer and remarkable recovery.

Arnold Palmer has lived one of the great sporting lives of the twentieth century. Now, with the help of acclaimed golf writer James Dodson, he has created one of the great sports autobiographies of our time.

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Review:

From his first steps onto the public stage, this true icon of sport exuded an aura more inviting than off-putting, and his substantial record--92 titles worldwide, four Masters championships, a U.S. Open crown, and back-to-back British Open victories--speaks for itself. So does his autobiography. It is friendly, chatty, honest, passionate, long on spirit, and deft with the anecdotes it shares. As a storyteller, Palmer is as down the middle with the failures and hard times as he is with the remarkable triumphs. He writes thrillingly about golf at its most competitive; probingly about his rivals, particularly Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus; revealingly about the extended slump that followed the '64 Masters, his last win in a major; fairly and nobly about his own legendary status; emotionally about his family and his complex relationship with his father; and quite movingly about both his and his wife's battles with cancer: "The very word...used in the same sentence as Winnie's name struck cold terror in my heart."

If A Golfing Life sometimes finds itself ankle-deep in the rough of its own sentimentality--"I'm damned proud of my efforts"--it also surprises with unflinching candor and self-awareness: "Walking down the fairway, shaken to the core," he concedes of his titanic collapse in the final round of the 1966 U.S. Open, "I doubt if I have ever felt as alone or as devastated on the golf course. I know what a train wreck the world is witnessing." In the end, the volume's real appeal isn't just the charismatic persona of Palmer himself--it's his ability to take aim at the birdies and bogeys of a full life on and off the course and assess them with clarity, charm, equanimity, and wit. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

James Dodson is a contributing editor and regular columnist for Golf magazine and golf editor for Departures magazine. His work has appeared in GQ, Travel & Leisure, Outside, and numerous other national magazines. His columns won the Golf Writers of America Award in 1995. Dodson's first book, Final Rounds, became an instant golf classic.
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Arnold Palmer with James Dobson
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