Was there ever a year in golf
like 1960? It was the year that the sport and its vivid personalities exploded
on the consciousness of the nation, when the past, present, and future of the
game collided. Television, still a new medium, provided a fresh window to the
show and enabled this “rich man’s sport” to win over millions of new fans.
Here was Arnold Palmer, the
working man’s hero, “sweating, chain-smoking, shirt-tail flying,” and winning,
it seemed, every tournament with a last-second charge. Ben Hogan, the greatest
player of the 1950s, was Palmer’s opposite, a perfectionist battling the twin
demons of age and nerves. And making his debut in the big time was a chunky,
crew-cut college kid who seemed to have the makings of a champion--twenty-year-old
Would Palmer win the mythical
Grand Slam of golf? Could Hogan win one more major tournament? Was Nicklaus the
real thing? Even more than an intimate portrait of these men and their exciting
times, The Eternal Summer is also an entertaining, perceptive, and
hypnotically readable exploration of professional golf in America.
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